Regina Spektor plays the piano so loudly, she has to convince piano tuners to adjust the instrument to her liking.
"It gets so loud that the strings reverberate in a certain way," Spektor says. "And I always want them to work on the voicing and to soften the hammers, and they get kind of argumentative with me — they're like, 'You're not supposed to play this loud.'"
The word "haunting" could be used to describe many of the short stories in Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. The collection is by Yiyun Li, who emigrated from Beijing to the United States in the 1990s, and received the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant in 2010.
With the backdrop of a nation moving from isolation to openness, Li's characters deal with universal struggles such as loneliness, regret, love and loss. And often, they're not who they may appear to be.