Jing-Jing Lee, author of How We Disappeared, on Ocean Vuong and Hilary Mantel, Shakespeare & Co, and why she doesn't love visiting the theatre... 

 

What is the last book you read that stuck with you?

Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. I read it late last year and the sound of his sentences still comes back to me from time to time.  

 

Where’s your favourite place that you’ve visited? 

Sleepy villages in southern France. 

 

What films or TV have you seen recently that inspired you?

Nothing exciting, I’m afraid! I’ve a fourteen-month-old and in the evenings, I usually read and leave the TV on for background noise.

 

What’s your favourite bookshop?

This is a tough one. I love Shakespeare and Co in Paris because it feels like a living, breathing (literary) thing. And Foyles on Charing Cross Road because they have everything, and are always wonderfully organised.

 

What book do you wish you had written?

Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, simply because I’ve thought about writing a book in the form of a letter to my mother (who’s also illiterate) for a long time. I can’t leave out Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy, though it feels like I’m wishing I had wings.

 

What theatre have you seen that you’ve loved?

 
I can’t answer this because I’ve never been able to go to the theatre and enjoy whatever’s going on on stage. I have a sensory processing disorder and find it difficult to enjoy moving visuals and concentrate on dialogue while having people around me (who, invariably, will move and make little noises of their own). I get incensed when my fellow audience members (those sitting around me anyway) so much as breathe. The same goes for movies. It’s not as bad but I have chucked things at people in movie theatres to try and make them stop talking. 

 

How We Disappeared is out in paperack now. 

 

Image of How we Disappeared with quote from the Financial Times 'deeply affecting'