What reader wants to be told what attitude to strike?
One has to have the courage of one’s pessimism.
One important theme is the extent to which one can ever correct an error especially outside any frame of religious forgiveness. All of us have done something we regret – how we manage to remove that from our conscience or whether that’s even possible interested me.
My parents were keen for me to have the education they themselves never had. They weren’t able to guide me towards particular books but they encouraged me to read which I did randomly and compulsively.
London in the ’70s was a pretty catastrophic dump I can tell you. We had every kind of industrial trouble we had severe energy problems we were under constant terrorist attack from Irish terrorist groups who started a bombing campaign in English cities politics were fantastically polarized between left and right.
I think of novels in architectural terms. You have to enter at the gate and this gate must be constructed in such a way that the reader has immediate confidence in the strength of the building.
I don’t believe there’s any inherent darkness at the center of religion at all. I think religion actually is a morally neutral force.
I apologize for being obvious but every time I watch the curtain come down on even a halfway decent production of a Shakespeare play I feel a little sorrowful that I’ll never know the man or any man of such warm intelligence.
I actually find novels that are determined to be funny at every turn quite oppressive.
By concentrating on what is good in people by appealing to their idealism and their sense of justice and by asking them to put their faith in the future socialists put themselves at a severe disadvantage.