...quando perdi qualcuno e questo qualcuno ti manca, tu soffri perché la persona assente si è trasformata in un essere immaginario: irreale. Ma il tuo desiderio di lei non è immaginario. Così è a quello che devi aggrapparti: al desiderio. Perché è reale.
I'm one of those unlucky people who had a happy childhood.
It's only a drawback in the States, where most people seem to have no real interest in other countries and the notion of a novel which might offer insight into life in the UK doesn't seem to appeal very widely.
I live a perfectly happy and comfortable life in Blair's Britain, but I can't work up much affection for the culture we've created for ourselves: it's too cynical, too knowing, too ironic, too empty of real value and meaning.
As I said, I had no publisher for What a Carve Up! while I was writing it, so all we had to live off was my wife's money and little bits I was picking up for journalism.
But at the same time, I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don't write short stories because they turn into novels.
But you can try to read books at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons.
I think it's also the case that I'm not as widely travelled, or as well-educated in history, as most of the other novelists I meet: so I have to write about my own country, at the present time, because it's more or less all I know about!
Contemporary Britain seems an endlessly fascinating place to me - but if I knew a little bit more about other places, and other times, maybe it wouldn't.
As soon as you start writing about how human beings interact with each other socially, you're into politics, aren't you?
But we are entitled to look for continuity in politics.
But I have always - ever since The Accidental Woman - written novels about individuals attempting to make choices in the context of situations over which they have no control.
Ah, well, I have no talent for nonfiction, that's my problem.
My only regret is that I signed away the world rights and in America they've been far and away my most successful books, but I never saw a cent from any of it.
I became quite taken over by Johnson's personality at some points while writing the biography, and since I went straight on to The Closed Circle afterwards, I did sometimes feel I could hear him whispering in my ear while I was working on it.