Vollman's two favorite countries to visit are Canada and Thailand. Being Canadian, I wanted to talk to him about his fascination with a country that most people ignore. Impressively, Vollman is even interested in the parts of Canada that most Canadians ignore. Near the end of the interview, I turned the tape off in order to ask my indulgent Canada questions. Vollman made me turn it back on because, he said, the world should be taught.

STIM:
What do you like so much about Canada?

Vollmann:
I love the remoteness of Canada. Once you get away from that narrow belt along the US-Canadian border it gets so wild, open, and so beautiful all the way up to the tundra and the Arctic archipelago. The further you go the more beautiful it gets.

And I like the Canadian people too. They tend to be friendly, genuine people. Yes, they are reserved but most of them are decent people. That's how I feel anyway.

Also, I don't feel too bad wandering around in Canadian cities late at night even if I'm in kind of a bad area with lots of drunks or something like in that story "The Best Way to Drink Beer."

S: In Winnipeg.

V: Yeah where I was staying in Winnipeg and they said it was a tough area but it felt ok.

Around this point, the discussion pretty much devolved into minutae: our mutual favorite Vietnamese restaurant below a strip club in Montreal, Canadian literature about the Arctic, whether or not there were green beer bottles in Winnipeg and my personal story related to his story "Disappointed by The Wind" which was based on his visit to Toronto in 1993.