BNR: You wrote the introduction to the Collected Stories of Richard Yates, and you once said, "(H)is work is so honest and his vision is so clear, so clear-eyed, that when I'm reading a Richard Yates story, I'll go back to work on something of my own at the desk and I'm suddenly a different person. I see the world differently, and the story that comes out of me is not going be influenced in that sense by Yates, but while I'm there with him, his vision for that period of time is my vision, and it's that way with most really good writers." In the same interview, you also mentioned Alice Munro. Beyond Yates and Munro, what other writers have this effect on you? Are any of them young, up-and-coming writers?
RR: There are several young writers whose vision is so precise and spot-on that I'd follow them anywhere. Joshua Ferris and Ed Park have staked out similar territory (cubical culture) in Then We Came to the End and Personal Days. Doug Dorst's Alive in Necropolis and Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief also took my breath away. And I cannot recommend strongly enough the work of Jess Walter, whose eye and wit are unparalleled. If you want to understand post 9/11 America, he's your guy.