. . . are you reading now?
MY BOOK, The Year Of The Locust, for the 500th time! I am now preparing and proof-reading the U.S. edition.
I think it is a good book, but enough is enough! As soon as I have finished I will be reading John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy again after many years. It’s maybe the greatest spy novel ever written and I need to be reminded of what a high bar I have to clear when I write the sequel to my best-seller, I Am Pilgrim.
And that means, of course, I will have to do what I have been dreading for the past ten years. I will have to re-read I Am Pilgrim and confront all my mistakes and faults.
I know I will be constantly asking myself: whatever possessed me to do that? Did I really think that somebody would say that? I must have been really tired that night!
. . .would you take to a desert island?
THE Bible. Not necessarily for religious reasons, but it is probably the biggest selling book of all time, so it certainly got something right. It might also stand me in good stead with the main character if help doesn’t arrive.
If I was more optimistic and thought I was going to be rescued, I would take The Lord Of The Rings. What a masterful piece of storytelling and imagination by Tolkein!
For me, I never just read it — I lived it. What more can any author do? To me, that is the highest accolade. I definitely wouldn’t take Robinson Crusoe.
. . . first gave you the reading bug?
C.S. FORESTER probably. His series on Lord Hornblower was a brilliant retelling of the Royal Navy at the height of its power. Just what a young kid needed — adventure, drama, violence, tension and flogging! Forester’s The African Queen and The Gun were great, too. Growing up in Australia, every long summer holiday — over Christmas, of course — I set myself the task of reading all of an author’s work. Forester was one of the first victims of this madness. The years that followed included D.H. Lawrence and Hermann Hesse and, I have to say, they were a slog. Not so Forester. Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald got the same treatment, too, and they were great.
. ..left you cold?
A CONFEDERACY Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. There are no bad books — anybody that finished writing a book has my undying admiration, but this definitely wasn’t for me.
On the other hand, it received great critical acclaim and a wide audience, so what do I know?
■ The Year Of The Locust by Terry hayes is out now (Bantam Press, £22).