Muse Magazine Critic-in-Residence on Tempura and Marzipan

Meet Christian Caryl, the JMSC’s first Muse Magazine Critic-in-Residence.

Christian Caryl

Christian Caryl: Take Risks

The American writer has taken a break from his busy schedule to teach a class in criticism to MJs this semester.

Caryl, who flew into Hong Kong from Cape Cod, Massachusetts in mid-January, is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy, Newsweek and the New York Review of Books.

His latest project is a book of world history about the year 1979. “Nineteen seventy nine is a much more important year in world history than people realise.”

Angharad Law spoke to him about life, the universe and everything.

Hear his views:
[audio:http://jmsc.hku.hk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Christian-Caryl2.MP3]

First impressions of Hong Kong: An odd combination of cosmopolitanism and South Chinese parochialism. Plus good weather!

What three adjectives describe you best? Adventurous, curious, tired.

Greatest strength: Scepticism.

Biggest weakness: Nervousness.

Favourite food: Tempura soba — yum!

Favourite place: Istanbul — the greatest place in the world — where different cultures and periods of history are layered together.

Best book you’ve ever read: I can’t pick one book but I love books by Marcel Proust, Vladimir Nabokov and Robert Musil.

Favourite piece of music: Anything by Mozart and Walk On by U2.

Favourite work of art: Anything by Vermeer.

Biggest fear: Something happening to my children.

Biggest regret: Leaving having children too late. One piece of advice I would give others is don’t be afraid to take the plunge and have kids.

Person living or dead you admire most: Charles Darwin.

Who would you most like to have dinner with? The Roman Emperor, soldier, philosopher and writer, Marcus Aurelius.

The love of your life: My wife and marzipan!

What piece of advice would you give your JMSC students about life? Take risks.

How would you like to be remembered? As a man who achieved his ideal weight.

The JMSC Critic-in-Residence Programme is funded by Muse, Hong Kong’s leading magazine about arts and culture. The publisher is Frank Proctor.