On writing what I don't know:
Novels should not be read as memoir. Still, whether the novelist writes what she knows or what she imagines, her words can conjure a realer reality, one more potent and less illusory than our present distraction. What mind does the page reveal? A 21st-century American widow up to her neck in building renovations, or a band of Englishmen up to their necks in cricket and Latin…and other matters not suited to coffee hour or a family newspaper?