8 Questions with Chang-rae Lee

Chang-rae Lee is a Korean-American novelist. His sixth novel My Year Abroad has been released in February 2021.


Which talent would you most like to have?

Two things equally: to be able to sing well and paint well. I’ve always desired the ability to sketch something I see, and of course to carry a tune. But I can do neither...


What is your most treasured possession?

Probably my coffee machine, a classic Italian made espresso machine that is decidedly not automatic. It’s about 20 kilos heavy, all stainless steel, and it makes lovely espresso.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To sit with my loved ones and enjoy a tasty meal together. Nothing else comes close.


What is your motto?

As a writer, “Keep your butt in the chair.” I don’t have a life motto.


How would you like to die?

Oh boy, probably quietly, just drifting off, but otherwise doing something I enjoy, like cycling or golf or bodyboarding.


If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

I hope it would be bird, or fish, some animal that can soar and glide.


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Pretty much all I may have, but probably that I’m a good listener. I don’t think I’m as attentive as people think I am.


What is your current state of mind?

Fairly calm, or as calm as I can be, given the state of the world and this pandemic.