Mona Simpson I wanted to write about American mythologies, American yearnings that might be responses, delayed or exaggerated but in some way typical, to the political and social truths of our part of the world in our century. But I wrote very personally about one family. I think it takes a long time before a crisis—like AIDS—enters the culture to a point where responses exist in a character, where personal gestures are both individual and resonant in a larger way.
Amanda Meer Which American myths?
MS Myths about class and class change. And invention, self-invention. So many myths about the self-made man, positive and negative, involve men. The shining or the dark sides of the American dream are peopled with men; Willy Loman, Jay Gatsby, Horatio Alger’s entrepreneurs. So I wanted to write about an ambitious woman, a woman who re-invents herself.