John Banville Quotes
I live in Dublin, God knows why. There are greatly more congenial places I could have settled in - Italy, France, Manhattan - but I like the climate here, and Irish light seems to be essential for me and for my writing.
How I envy writers who can work on aeroplanes or in hotel rooms. On the run I can produce an article or a book review, or even a film script, but for fiction I must have my own desk, my own wall with my own postcards pinned to it, and my own window not to look out of.
Why does the past seem so magical, so fraught, so luminous? At the time it was just, ugh, another boring bloody day. But, to look back on, it's a day full of miracles and light and extraordinary events. Why is this? What process do we apply to the past, to give it this vividness? I don't know.
When young writers approach me for advice, I remind them, as gently as I can, that they are on their own, with no help available anywhere. Which is how it should be.
When you're writing there's a deep, deep level of concentration way below your normal self. This strange voice, these strange sentences come out of you.
I never went to university. I'm self-educated. I didn't go because I was too impatient, too arrogant.
The effect of prizes on one's career - if that is what to call it - is considerable, since they give one more clout with publishers and more notoriety among journalists. The effect on one's writing, however, is nil - otherwise, one would be in deep trouble.
I don't know if there is a personal identity. We all imagine that we are absolute individuals. But when we begin to look for where this individuality resides, it's very difficult to find.
It's great people still care about books, and it's great you can still fashion a life from literature.
I suppose it's possible that a writer would have feeling for his characters, but I can't see how, because writing is such a meticulous, intricate, technical business. I wish I could say that I love my characters and that frequently they take over the book and run away with the plot and so on. But they don't exist.
We artists love to talk tough, but we're just as sentimental as everyone else when it comes down to it.
When I say I don't like my own work, that doesn't mean it isn't better than everyone else's.
With crime fiction, you have to write a half-dozen before they catch on.
I've been wrestling with Kafka since I was an adolescent. I think he's a great aphorist, a great letter writer, a great diarist, a great short story writer, and a great novelist - I'd put novelist last.
Doing what you do well is death. Your duty is to keep trying to do things that you don't do well, in the hope of learning.
Most crime fiction, no matter how 'hard-boiled' or bloodily forensic, is essentially sentimental, for most crime writers are disappointed romantics.
When I started writing, I was a great rationalist and believed I was absolutely in control. But the older one gets, the more confused, and for an artist I think that is quite a good thing: you allow in more of your instinctual self; your dreams, fantasies and memories. It's richer, in a way.
With the crime novels, it's delightful to have protagonists I can revisit in book after book. It's like having a fictitious family.
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