I think all writers have subjects that they tend to be preoccupied with, and one of the things that interests me is not exactly the nature of happiness, but the nature of ... the pursuit of happiness. Whether it’s something that you want to consciously chase, or whether it’s a product of right behavior or of luck, and especially I think being an American where America, it seems to me is very preoccupied with happiness, and slightly self-indulgently so, and you see that in contrast to other societies where right behavior is emphasized. And, it’s just intriguing to wonder which is the right path, the self-discovery, everyone being universally strong, who am I, self-esteem kind of path, which I think is actually less efficacious, or the kind of virtue, rather more traditionally conceived as you find in other cultures, some other cultures. So, I know that that comes up in my work without pretending to have an answer.
–Me, quoted in The New York Times, March 7th, 2000