I’m very pleased to have an interview published in the Southeast Asia Globe, about anthropology, Indonesia, witchcraft, exoticism, writing and my book Stealing With the Eyes. Here’s an extract:
I used to tell my creative writing students that everywhere is exotic from the point of view of somewhere else; but on familiarity with elsewhere, we always find it is never as exotic as we hope or dream. J. M. G. Le Clézio, in The Book of Flights, writes that we always hope to arrive in a place where people wear owls on their heads, but we never do. Exoticism gives birth to disappointment. Nevertheless, once you get over this disappointment, once you realise that all places are pretty much the same, then you can start to see that different places really are different, just not in the way you had imagined.