Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A. Finding the perfect balance between variety and routine.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A. Incapacitation.

Q. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

A. George Carlin.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A. The time it takes me sometimes to reply to people; the misery of knowing I still haven’t replied.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A. Entitlement. Lack of eye contact.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?

A. Time to write.

Q. What is your favorite journey?

A. Waking in a foreign land, that first step into the unknown, hearing the announcements in another language, the unfamiliar beeps and sounds of fire trucks and public transport and hesitation.

Q. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

A. That it should place me in a context, or limit my designs on extraterritoriality.

Q. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A. “I must say,” or “I have to say.”(I don’t often really “have to,” nor “must” I.)

Q. What is your greatest regret?

A. Not quitting the track team earlier. That was a lot of pointless running. Not sticking with the trumpet.

Q. When are where were you happiest?

A. I keep a steady fire burning.

Q. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A. Translating.

Q. When and where were you happiest?

A. When I’ve found the perfect balance between variety and routine.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

A. I’d like to learn to play the mandolin.

Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A. My lifestyle; that, against all logic, I remain happy and fed.

Q. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

A. A foot. (Or a toe? I have yet to learn where one thing ends, and the next begins.)

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A. The Zardaín painting in my living room.

Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

A. A waiting room.

Q. Where would you like to live?

A. In an apartment over a 24-hour grocery store with overflowing fruits and vegetables, in a city composed of many different types of people, where you can cross the street illegally without being fined, where mystery and not-knowing-things is valued.

Q. What is your favorite occupation?

A. Dentist. They say, Open wide, and then put a gloved hand into people’s mouths. No protest follows.

Q. What is your most marked characteristic?

A. Good cheer.

Q. What is the quality you most like in a man?

A. The ability to grow beards!

Q. What do you most value in your friends?

A. Originality.

Q. Who are your favorite writers?

A. I can’t; this would be akin to choosing a favorite from among one’s children/parents/siblings.

Q. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

A. Brás Cubas, maybe. Florentino Ariza?

Q. Who are your heroes in real life?

A. Pe. Haroldo Rahm, S.J. Many a family member and friend.

Q. What are your favorite names?

A. Unusual ones, from other places, names inconceivable as names.

Q. What is it that you most dislike?

A. Justification of violence in the name of patriotism, religion or culture, especially when presented as being of a higher order.

Q. How would you like to die?

A. Of old age obviously.

Q. What is your motto?

A. Have low expectations; then everything good that arrives is a bonus.

Keller’s new novel, The Box and the Briefcase, the Moleque and the Old Man and the First Coming of the Second Son of God is available for pre-order here: