8 Questions with Naomi Ishiguro

Naomi Ishiguro is the author of Escape Routes


Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to crack codes and solve mathematical problems effortlessly. My grandfather was a scientist and incredible with numbers, and though I’m not the worst at maths, the talent definitely was not carried down the generations.


What is your most treasured possession?

Possibly my washing machine. Years of moving from flat to flat means I don’t have many precious objects, but life without the washing machine could get miserable fast.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Good health and good fortune for me, my boyfriend, all my friends and family, and for everyone they love, too!


What is your motto?

I’ve always enjoyed what Owen Wilson’s character says at the end of Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket. He’s messed everything up, done almost everything wrong, he has the police on his tail, and he just says,

‘They’ll never catch me man, because I’m f**king innocent.’

It works well on a metaphorical level, I think.


How would you like to die?

At 102, perfectly able-bodied, on a madcap mission to try and save something that matters.


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

An independent bookstore. I love the idea of a consciousness filling a space or a number of rooms, and indie bookstores are my sanctuaries.


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Physical beauty, as dictated by stupid and oppressive beauty norms. We’re expected to spend so much time cultivating it, but what does it mean, really?


What is your current state of mind?

I’m still hopeful about the world. I feel like being hopeful is the most rational approach to have to the future. Despair can too easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.