Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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, August 11, 2009

Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: John Banville

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...

What crime novel would you most like to have written?
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT – though I would have smartened up Dostoyevsky’s tin-eared prose style.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Adrian Leverkuhn, in Thomas Mann’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS: an utter monster but a supremely great artist. I would have worked at helping him to find his inner nice person. Ha.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t know, really. I find bad books hard to read.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Putting down the first notes for my new novel, which I did a few days ago. At this stage, all is possibility, conviction, confidence, happiness. In a year or two I’ll be wading through mud up to my armpits.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
THE THIRD POLICEMAN, Flann O’Brien.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Ditto.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst is never being able to get it just right, best is being able, occasionally, to get it not entirely wrong.

The pitch for your next book is …?
My next book will be another Benjamin, called ELEGY FOR APRIL. “Quirke on the trail of another dead girl, though the real cliff-hanging question is, Will he go back on the booze?”

Who are you reading right now?
LIBERTY, by Isaiah Berlin, FROM THE OTHER SHORE by Alexander Herzen, INSIDE THE SKY by William Langewiesche, and THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY by Patricia Highsmith. Utter pleasures, utterly guiltless.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I’d say, You don’t exist, so forget it.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Since I’m two-in-one I get six words, yes? Poetic, graceful, irresistible. Dour, dark, misanthropic. You decide which set fits JB and which BB. Or do a mix and match?

John Banville’s THE INFINITIES is published by Picador.