Here is a short excerpt from the full interview:
Paul: What inspired you to write this book?James: I spent a semester in Budapest, Hungary during my graduate studies in 2003. This of course was several years after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. Still, I was amazed to see the extent to which the vestiges of this past had been removed from public view: you’d be hard-pressed to find Soviet-era monuments or even any signs in Cyrillic script in the city. I started to think about the consequences (both social and personal) of so completely erasing these traces of history – and indeed if it was even possible to do so. This was the first impetus for the book, and from that starting point I developed a set of characters and circumstances anchored to this overarching theme.