Reading Group Guide A Conversation with Meg Wolitzer Q: Your books all offer highly detailed depictions of day-to-day life as many of us live it today. In this sense, your work follows the prescriptions of Jane Austen -- who saw fiction as a mirror held up to reality -- and Sir Walter Scott, who defined the novel as just a reflection of the everyday doings of ordinary people. Do you see your novels as mirrors of reality? What sorts of novels do you imagine Jane Austen would be writing today?
A: Trends in novels have changed a great deal since Jane Austen's time, and the big, realistic, "mirror" novel is only one kind out of many being written today. But it happens to be the kind that I'm drawn to again and again, both as a Writer and a reader. I'm not sure fiction "should" do anything in particular, but when I read a book that really shows me the inner mechanics of people's livesthe moments of tedium and epiphany -- I feel extremely grateful. It's not that I consciously set out to provide a mirror of reality when I write fiction, but because I myself am so curious about other people-the way they think and talk and the complexities of the world they've constructed for themselves -- I always end up putting some of this into my books. If I hadnt been a writer, I think I would have enjoyed being a psychoanalyst -- just so I could have these stories told to me all day. lf Jane Austen were writing today, I think her novels would be as wry and kno