Chuck Klosterman interviews Jonathan Franzen on an Acela between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.:
… I allow him to give his answer off the record. During the three minutes my recorder is off, he provides one of the most straightforward, irrefutable, and downright depressing answers I’ve ever experienced in an interview. His posture relaxes. His language simplifies. Nothing is unclear. But once the red light returns, he rematerializes into the same truthful but withholding person I met at the train station. It’s easy to understand why Franzen’s literary characters are so rich and fully realized; he understands himself better than most people I’ve encountered, which is always the first step toward understanding people who aren’t you.