“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?
“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.
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: