Terry Gross: Why did you want to write about depression in your novel?
Jonathan Franzen: People who have a depressive cast of mind are usually the funniest people you meet, and there's nothing like putting a couple of Eeyores into the text to make it at least a little bit funny. What else? Why did I want depressives in here? It's, you know, most interesting people become somewhat depressed at some point in their life, and I'm not writing books for people whose lives are perfectly great. People whose lives are perfectly great probably don't need to read books like the kind I write. Only if you have some regular connection with some kind of darkness or difficulty or conflict does serious fiction begin to matter. And so it's simply realistic to let people, as the stories of their lives build toward dramatic peaks, to enter these dark woods from time to time.
- Jonathan Franzen, in interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. You can listen to the whole interview here and read the transcript here.