Before he became a write, Mark Salzman had pretty well planned his life as a great cellist. But what he really wanted was to master the Chinese martial art of Kung Fu. Growing up in suburban middle-class Connecticut, he was the sort of kid who got used to practicing his Kung Fu kicks for hours on end, smashing his bare fist into the wall a few hundred times, and then practicing his cello. He got into Yale at 16 on his music, then quit his instrument and changed his major to Chinese language and philosophy, which took him eventually to Changsha in Hunan Province, to teach English and to study Chinese martial arts at their source.
Which prompted him to write about it and, in the depths of a writer’s block, to take up the cello again. This is the circuit of his perfectionist passions-music, Kung Fu, and writing-that produced his remarkable new novel about a Carmelite nun in a spiritual crisis. Mark Salzman and “Lying Awake” are this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Mark Salzman, cellist and author of “Lying Awake.”