KK: Clearly, your purpose wasn’t exactly to bring Tolstoy’s novel up to date, but there are several scenes that reference Anna Karenina in a direct way. Some that come to mind are when David and Anna meet at the subway station, when David trips and falls during the New York Marathon, just as Vronsky’s horse goes down in a steeplechase (I love that one, by the way), and, of course, the ending. What made you invoke the scenes you did, if your intention was not Anna Karenina redux?
IR: You’re right — I did not begin my novel with the idea of updating Anna Karenina. The connections only became obvious to me after I had written some stories and began to sew them together into a novel. Perhaps because I had read the Tolstoy book so closely and so recently, it began to inhabit my novel-in-progress. Once I made up my mind to make the allusions explicit, I purposely did not reread the book, but allowed the scenes that had spoken to me push their images onto the page. I did not transpose them literally — in my novel, for example, the ice skating scene between Lev and Katia has a very different aim from Tolstoy’s ice skating scene. The parallels between my book and the classic are less conscious than they may seem, which made the process of writing my novel an unusual one. It is this process, I think, that allows my novel to stand firmly on its own two legs.
Read the whole thing here.