[...] Tolstoy said that the purpose of art was to communicate the idea of Christian brotherhood from man to man and to pass along some sort of message. [...] what fiction and poetry are doing is what they've been trying to do for two thousand years: affect somebody, make somebody feel a certain way, allow them to enter into relationships with ideas and with characters that are not permitted within the cinctures of the ordinary verbal intercourse we're having here, you know: you don't see me, I don't see you. But every two of three generations the world gets vastly different, and the context in which you have to learn how to be a human being, or to have good relationships, or decide whether or not there is a God, or decide whether there's such a thing as love, and whether it's redemptive, becomes vastly different. And the struggles with which you can communicate those dilemmas or have characters struggle with them seem to become appropriate and then inappropriate again and so on. Nothing that's changed right now seems to me to be fundamentally important, and yet a whole lot of stuff is very, very different. [...] I'm the only "postmodernist" you'll ever meet who absolutely worships Leo Tolstoy.