What, in your opinion, makes a piece of fiction work?
I think that different pleasures work for different readers—a friend of mine won’t read anything that’s not a cardiovascular sort of page-turner. I tend to care less about plot, but I’m a sucker for humor and strangeness. I love weird or funny or beautiful sentences; Joy Williams could write a microwave-oven manual and I’m sure I’d love it, because the sentences would be tuned up like music. And I do think that great fiction, even when it’s comedic, has an urgency or an inevitability to it, a sense that the writer absolutely had to write this particular story in this way.
Check out the full interview in the New Yorker