Date Archives February 2009

Launch!

I realised I haven’t written anything here for a week. The official reason is that I was busy – the unofficial reason is that I was in a constant state of nervous anxiety and couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds at a time. The reason for the nerves is pictured here: public speaking. I’ve done it before, quite a bit, but it’s always the same. My mind enters this circular mode of thinking, where all I can do is imagine the same scenarios, churn the same… Read More

“Amsterdam” by Ian McEwan

This was a good, quick read. An interesting story that explores several moral issues such as euthanasia and privacy rights. Another theme is the yearning for greatness and the sacrifices involved, often in vain. For example, Clive is a famous composer trying to create a “Millennial Symphony” and struggling with the pressure. He feels on the verge of creating a work of genius but keeps being interrupted just as he is about to create a crucial part. Vernon is a newspaper editor who thinks he has created a truly great… Read More

Books arrived!

When I first decided to quit my sensible career job and focus on writing, I suppose this is the day I had in mind. At the end of all the early mornings and late nights and rejection letters and self-doubt and setbacks and new starts and hating the chapters I loved yesterday and editing and wondering and dreaming and starting again yet again, I finally have a book in my hands. Of course, I had seen endless pdf proof copies of the cover and all the inside pages, and indeed… Read More

“An Artist of the Floating World” by Kazuo Ishiguro

An elderly, celebrated artist, Masuji Ono, is living in retirement in Japan just after the end of World War Two. His daughter is having trouble in her marriage negotiations for reasons he can’t understand: gradually he realises it’s because he is associated with the rise of Japanese militarism in the 1930s, a period now discredited and blamed for bringing disaster on the country. The theme of the book is the role of the artist in the world, and this is what old Masuji Ono gradually explores. As with many of… Read More

Article in The Bookseller

There was a nice piece about my novel On the Holloway Road in The Bookseller recently. It’s the main business magazine for the book industry in the UK, so hope it will get some people’s attention. There’s a scan of the article below, and you can also read it on my publisher’s website. Gives some good information about the book and the prize I won to get it published. (Scroll down to the bottom – it’s not “How to talk to girls”!)

Extract from Susan Sontag’s diary

“X” is when you feel yourself an object, not a subject. when you want to please and impress people, either by saying what they want to hear, or by shocking them, or by boasting + name-dropping, or by being very cool. …… The source of X is: I don’t know my own feelings….. ….So I look to other people (the other person) to tell me. Then the other person tells me what he or she would like my feelings to be…. ….That’s why I’m so interested in moral philosophy, which… Read More