When one is the type of writer who cares about the meaning of the historically specific setting, the history itself is not something that I would call backdrop. It's not window dressing for a timeless relationship about love and betrayal. For me, the setting and the specific history are active co-agents with me in trying to form the novel.
I like to read novels where the author seems knowledgeable, like someone you know you could walk calmly next to through a complicated situation, and he or she would be alive to its meaning and ironies. And you wouldn't even have to mention them out loud to each other.
Eventually, I grew out of my interest in motorcycles because they're quite dangerous. I don't ride them anymore. But I have this history.
I have spent a lot of time in the art world, and I guess I do listen to how people speak. I'm interested in what they say and how they say it.
'Blood Meridian' was without question the novel that made me want to become a writer.
My dad had a Vincent Black Shadow, which was a quite particular thing: it was the fastest cycle of its era... It sparked a world for me; when I was old enough, I got a motorcycle.
I think that when the social stakes for people are higher, how you present yourself may sometimes feel like it's going to inform your destiny. Because if other people regard you in a certain way, they'll want to help you, and you will end up having a career.
If a writer is always trying to keep a narrator emitting a tone of complete knowingness, it can become false.
Proust is a huge author for me.
I am a rereader. Quality is variety if you wait long enough. Barthes, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Celine, Duras, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Melville: There is so much to revisit. 'Ingrid Caven,' by Jean-Jacques Schuhl, is always in rotation. I used to read 'Morvern Callar,' by Alan Warner, every year - I adored that book.
Art breathes into life a surplus that is both vital and extraordinary.
I have to arrange my life very carefully. I need eight hours' sleep to work.
I don't start with a list of historical scenes that I want to include in the book. At a certain point, the narrative totally takes over, and everything that I include I can only incorporate if it answers to the internal terms of the novel.
I don't read for plot, a story 'about' this or that. There must be some kind of philosophical depth rendered into the language, something happening.
I like Baudelaire's sentences quite a lot. I read and re-read him very often.
In fiction, there happens to be a long history of creative engagement with marginality, with the very human components of society that others don't want to think about, from writers such as Dostoyevsky, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud to Genet and Sarrazin and right on up to Norman Mailer.
I write the novels that are possible for me to write, not that ones I think will come across in a certain light.
Happiness is a mysterious concept. It seems to work best as futurity: at that point I will be happy, et cetera. I feel like I experience small pieces of joy day to day.
It's a cliche, and in a way it's a conservative idea about fiction, but I did learn the hard way that plot does need to dictate the story.
I spent ten years riding motorcycles.