Disassemble It and Reassemble It

"Write what you know will only get you so far. You need to write what you can imagine, write what you can research about, write what you can pretend to know. It's not duplicity—it's more, I suppose, the illusionist's art…Maybe first a novelist is a photographer. You take a photograph of something that demands that you do. You remember it, think about it, chew over it, and disassemble it and reassemble it in ways that make fictional sense."

~ David Mitchell, from “Author Turns Gaze to 1799 Japan,” by Louis Peitzman, San Francisco Chronicle, July 22, 2010

While visiting Nagasaki in 1994, Mitchell discovered Dejima, a setting in his new book. ~ from “David Mitchell, the Experimentalist,” by Wyatt Mason, New York Times Magazine, June 25, 2010


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