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Archive by tag: Julian BarnesReturn
Jul 01, 2022

The author on being impressed by Dostoevsky and influenced by the dictionary – and wanting to drive Noddy’s famous yellow car

My earliest reading memory
Almost certainly one of the Noddy books. I deeply believed in the reality of Toyland and wanted to drive a car like Noddy’s (even though it was a taxi).

My favourite book growing up
Speed Six by Bruce Carter, about a pre-war Bentley, painted British racing green, which takes on and beats various postwar foreign cars – Maseratis and so on – at Le Mans. Perfect fodder for a little Little Englander.

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Jun 14, 2021

The author on maturing as a writer, the power of concision – and the reviews that claimed he was inspired by Frank Kermode

I published The Sense of an Ending in 2011, when I was 65. My previous novel had come out six years before, and was the longest I had written. This was to be my shortest. Various things change you as a person and a writer as you age. You think more about time and memory; about what time does to memory, and memory does to time. You also mistrust memory more than when you were younger: you realise that it resembles an act of the imagination rather than a matter of simple mental recuperation.

And when it comes to writing, two things may happen, and with luck do. The first is you have a greater confidence in your ability to move through time. The great exemplar here is Alice Munro – you can read a story of hers, 30 pages or so, and realise that, almost without your noticing, a character’s whole lifetime seems to have passed. How did she do that, you wonder? So in my novel, there is an opening section of about 50 pages, then a gap of 40 years, and then a hundred pages more. I wouldn’t have risked that in younger years.

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