“In the very first paragraph of THE BIG SLEEP, there’s a line that runs, ‘I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.’ I’d been a voracious reader all my life but when I read that line for the first time, at the age of 21, I felt like I’d come home. At the time, I was a student in Coleraine University, studying film. I had to write an essay on The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart. The university library didn’t have a copy, but the bookshop did. I was broke, paying my way through college by working whatever shifts I could get as a barman, but when I read that line I couldn’t resist: I stole.”Over to you, folks – what one book changed your life?
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The Book Wot Changed My Life
The Sunday Tribune was kind enough to ask me what book changed my life, and kinder still to run my answer in Sunday’s edition, the opening gambit running thusly: