For people who are at the bottom economically, the world is becoming a harder and harder place. And yet the incentives to become rich are so great because enormous amounts of wealth are being accumulated. And so those two things, that carrot and stick, are beating people along this trajectory of trying desperately to move up in the world.

If your sense of self is destabilised, to imagine being another becomes pretty easy.

It is not surprising that most Pakistanis do not support America's bombardment of Afghanistan. The Afghans are neighbours on the brink of starvation and devastated by war. America has shown itself to be untrustworthy, a superpower that uses its values as a scabbard for its sword.

I think that when we take the long view, the notion that some people are deemed less worthy of being able to move - to not have the right to cross borders - over time, that's going to seem as outmoded and as unfair, really, as racial discrimination or other kinds of discrimination.

Islam is not a race, yet Islamophobia partakes of racist characteristics.

Over time, our inescapable, systemic, fundamentally human impurity gives us the capacity to do what has not been done before: to make creative leaps in our biology, in the diseases we can resist and the foods we can digest. And in our thinking and culture and politics, too.

Outside of America, there are many people, myself included, who champion values that in some senses could be thought of as traditionally American: The idea that everybody is equal; the idea that the rights of women and men should be the same.

A reader should encounter themselves in a novel, I think.

Stories helped me unite parts of my existence that might otherwise have seemed irrevocably split by geography and time. And stories helped me find a future in which I, such a mongrel, could be comfortable.

I'm pro-human. And I think recognizing the human nature of migration is very important.

When I travel, I feel more like a nomad than a tourist.

When people talk about the death of the novel, they are speaking of the need for the birth of something different.

Chance plays a powerful role in every life - our brains and personalities are just chemical soup, after all; a few drops here or there matter enormously - but consequences often become more serious as income levels go down.

Those of us who thought Jorge Luis Borges was a pioneer of magical realism were mistaken; he was a pioneer of science fiction.

For me, writing a novel is more like digging a well than climbing a mountain - some heroic thing where I set out to conquer. I just sit quietly for a few years, and then it starts to become something.

I don't want to be a Michael Moore-style artist, which is not to disparage Michael Moore. But he seems rather unsuccessful at winning people over who don't already agree with him.

I am sometimes asked to name my favourite books. The list changes, depending on my mood, the year, tricks played by memory. I might mention novels by Nabokov and Calvino and Tolkien on one occasion, by Fitzgerald and Baldwin and E.B. White on another. Camus often features, as do Tolstoy, Borges, Morrison and Manto.

I'd rather create a miniature painting than a Taj Mahal of a book.

Like many kids, I used to pretend all sorts of things. I would climb into a tree and imagine that I was on an island, that the grass below we was an ocean, that the leaves were the fins of sharks. Perhaps unlike many people, I never really stopped. I still have a childlike predisposition to fantasise and share my fantasies.

Novels are make-believe and play for adults.

The simple fact of being a human being is you migrate. Many of us move from one place to the other. But even those who don't move, and you stay in the same city, if you were born in Manhattan 70 years ago, you're born in Des Moines 70 years ago, you've lived in the same place for 70 years, the city you live in today is unrecognizable.

I come from an enormous and very close family. I have over a dozen aunts and uncles in Pakistan, dozens of cousins. I have many close friends. I have received so much love in Lahore that the city always pulls me.

I try to write short novels and leave details out not because I want to be minimalist, but because I think that it enables the readers' creativity and interaction with the book.

I think the most effective forms of critique are ones that establish a common ground for people to occupy, and then appeal to the best nature of people on that common ground.

If it takes you seven years to write each novel, you need a patron. And I would rather have my corporate self as my patron than any arts council or bestower of grants.

Being outside the candy store looking in is the state of people today. Whether you're in a Pakistani village watching somebody in a car drive by, or you're in the city of Lahore going to a restaurant and seeing somebody with a security entourage coming in... you're exposed to people with more.

I think there's a growing courage among the younger generation of American writers. Because of the more superficial treatment of characters taking place in cinema, they have had to deal with that by digging deeper into who these people are.

I think that there is a degree of petulance around President Trump and also a degree of sort of blundering incompetence, which is unlike most businesspeople.

As a child I read all kinds of stuff, whether it was 'Asterix and Obelix' and 'Tin Tin' comic books, or 'Lord of the Rings,' or Frank Herbert's sci-fi. Or 'The Wind in the Willows.' Or 'Charlotte's Web.'

Like many of my friends in the Pakistani diaspora - and many of my friends in Pakistan itself, for that matter - I have sometimes looked at the country of my birth and wondered whether its future will be one of steady and sad decline.

I am a fairly mongrelized person - you know I've been a migrant my whole life, and it's hard to think of myself as any pure one thing. And so I take it, I guess, very personally - this notion that migrants are bad and that mixing is bad and that people from other places are bad.

When I'm writing well, I feel happy. And when I go too long without writing, I begin to implode.

Television has given Pakistan a truly open national forum for the first time in its history. Ideas are debated, leaders are assessed and criticised, and a nation of 170 million people is finally discovering, together, what it thinks.

Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.

Migration isn't a one-directional process; it's a colossal process that has been happening in all directions for thousands of years.

I often use nameless places in my work as a way of allowing the readers to create more of the novel and to make it potentially about their experiences, what they know, a city that they have perhaps seen on television.

Being a writer is not the point. Writing is.

In Sufi terms, there are two very interesting notions of transcendence. One is to gaze out at the universe and to comprehend that what you see out there reflects what you are. The other one is to look inside yourself and recognise that the universe is present there.

Novel writing is solitary work.

Only in novels can we take another human being into our head and create something jointly.

Given enough time, polar bears might migrate off the Arctic ice, evolve darker coats, find a different diet, and thrive in a new, warmer climate. But if the ice on which they depend disappears in a few decades, they are likely to die.

There's a real, brutal nature to the capitalism practiced by the main character in 'How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.' And I think playing dirty is certainly part of that.

When the machine of a human being is turned on, it seems to produce a protagonist, just as a television produces an image.

I think if you say that art and politics, or religion and politics, mustn't mix, don't mix, that is itself a political statement. Even if you are writing a 19th-century novel where the money comes from a plantation in the Caribbean and you don't talk about that, that itself is a political thing.

Growing up in Pakistan in the 1980s, I lived in the shadow of a tyrannical state.

Maybe we are all prospective migrants. The lines of national borders on maps are artificial constructs, as unnatural to us as they are to birds flying overhead. Our first impulse is to ignore them.

I think there's a natural link between the fact that our self is a story that we make up and that we're drawn to stories. It resonates, in a way.

I take six or seven years to write really small books. There is a kind of aesthetic of leanness, of brevity.

I am not much of a researcher as a novelist; I write mainly from experience.