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01Jul

Julian Barnes: ‘When I first read EM Forster, I thought he was a bit wet’

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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