Letting little things talk

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Ooi Kee Beng follows up with Tan Twan Eng to chat about what motivates him and finds out that oftentimes, it’s the little things in life that inspire the most.

What fascinates me greatly about your writing is your ability – and your apparent need – to embellish your narration with sensitive descriptions of some act or item occurring on the side. This technique is very suggestive. The reader’s curiosity is aroused. Is this, on your part, a conscious technique, as I rudely call it, or is this how you notice the world?
That’s how I observe and experience the world, how I strive to understand and replicate those observations and sensations. Whenever I’m in a place (a room, a friend’s house) or a situation – a city or the countryside, for example – I’m unable to drink in all that I see and sense.


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