"Every Sunday afternoon throughout my childhood, our considerably extended family -- my grandfather was one of nineteen children -- met at my grandparents' apartment for a dinner of pot roast, brown potatoes, and string beans...And when the meal was over and the dishes cleared, and Memere's sons-in-law had drifted to the parlor to watch the Red Sox blow a five-run lead to the Yankees, and the children went outside to play in the driveway, then someone perked a pot of coffee, set the sugar bowl and the can of condensed milk on the table, dealt the ashtrays to the aunts, and then we all sat around the kitchen and talked about the family and the neighbors...Gossip, I loved it. And that turns out to be the writer's job: to attend to the gossip and spread it as far as you can. At the heart of all good fiction and at the heart of all good gossip is the same thing: trouble. If you think about it, fiction is nothing more than gossip about the people you've made up."