But he’s a great fan of Philip Roth, so we got talking about him. I was reading The Human Stain, which is about race. And frankly, because I had hardly opened the book, I didn’t realize quite how intensely it was dealing with race. That then led to a very interesting discussion where through talking about Philip Roth and others he started getting into something. It had nothing to do with what I necessarily sat down to talk to him about. I just went with it because it’s far more interesting to use your time that way than to try to get him to talk about Pakistan. Then he’s going to retreat into talking points.

The second part of this interview is here.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.