I say without irony that Laia and I observe each other with a kind of “epistemological distance.” We follow and keep each other company with a precise balance of mutual admiration and respect, and a capacity for honest, sharp criticism. We question each other constantly, even when we don’t actually pose questions. On the occasion of the English-language publication of her quiet and masterful novel, Umami, we met in Paris in a small apartment on the Île Saint-Louis. From there, we walked over to Shakespeare & Co., where we found Laia’s book unexpectedly featured in the window. What could be a better opportunity to talk to her about books, Mexico, and octopuses?
For BOMB Magazine, Valeria Luiselli talks with Laia Jufresa.