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Interview on NPR's KQED Forum with Michael Krasny.

Interview on NPR's Interfaith Voices.

Author panel, “Blue Met Literary Festival: The Mile End in Fiction,” on CBC Radio's Cinq a Six.

Interview on Vancouver Radio's Storytelling Show.

Interview on CJSW's Writer’s Block.

 

 

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Q&A with Shelf Awareness

What do you hope to express in your new book? 

I think that some of us are so hungry for meaning that we get obsessed with certain ideas — often these are seductive religious ideas — and we forget that pursuing this obsession comes at a cost to the people around us. In The Mystics of Mile End, I wanted to pose the question: What's the value of devoting yourself to some notion of holiness if it means leaving behind those who love you most? (Full interview here.)

Q&A with The Forward

Does your novel reflect your own family story?

Weirdly enough, it does, but I didn't find that out until I finished writing the book. At that point, I went back to Montreal to visit my grandmother, who is an Indian Jew, and she said, "It's so funny that you wrote a book about Kabbalah." And I said, "Why?" And she said, "Didn't you know that your great-great-grandfather was a famous Kabbalist in Bombay?" (Full interview here.) 

 

Q&A with Jewish Book Council

What first inspired your interest in the mystical side of Judaism? Were you raised with it or did it develop later?

My father was a professor of Jewish mysticism, so I was exposed to Kabbalistic texts and ideas from a young age. Once, when I was maybe eight years old, I sat in on one of his university lectures. Looking up from the flashing lights of my Gameboy, I saw that he was using a yoyo to illustrate the movement of the mystic’s soul as it ascends and descends on the path toward God. That was it — I was hooked. (Full interview here.) 

Q&A with Electric Literature

So many of your characters are seeking meaning. Where do you seek yours?

In fiction. Both reading it and writing it. Fiction is religion to me, and religion is really, really, really good fiction. That’s not a diss, by the way — it’s the ultimate compliment. When I say that I feel obligated by the Bible like I feel obligated by a Dostoevsky novel, what I mean to say is: a lot! Just like millennia-old religious texts, great fiction offers us rich and well-considered points of departure for rethinking our lives. I take those seriously, and I think other devoted fiction readers do, too. Why else would we read? (Full interview here.)

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