Everything that we inherit, the rain, the skies, the speech, and anybody who works in the English language in Ireland knows that there's the dead ghost of Gaelic in the language we use and listen to and that those things will reflect our Irish identity.
Ireland is a peculiar society in the sense that it was a nineteenth century society up to about 1970 and then it almost bypassed the twentieth century.
I love the description of Gothic churches before the printed word, that they were the bibles of the poor.
The rosary was said every evening. I always liked that sentence about the medieval Churches, that they were the Bibles of the poor. The Church was my first book and I would think it is still my most important book.
I think there's a great difference in consciousness in that same way in that when we're young we read books for the story, for the excitement of the story - and there comes a time when you realise that all stories are more or less the same story.
We absolutely believed in Heaven and Hell, Purgatory, and even Limbo. I mean, they were actually closer to us than Australia or Canada, that they were real places.
When I was in my 20s it did occur to me that there was something perverted about an attitude that thought that killing somebody was a minor offence compared to kissing somebody.
Amongst Women concentrated on the family, and the new book concentrates on a small community. The dominant units in Irish society are the family and the locality. The idea was that the whole world would grow out from that small space.
I think technique can be taught but I think the only way to learn to write is to read, and I see writing and reading as completely related. One almost couldn't exist without the other.
Yes, but also one of the problems for a novelist in Ireland is the fact that there are no formal manners. I mean some people have beautiful manners but there's no kind of agreed form of manners.
I think that each of us inhabits a private world that others cannot see. The only difference between the writer and the reader is that the writer is able to dramatise that private world.
When you're in danger of losing a thing it becomes precious and when it's around us, it's in tedious abundance and we take it for granted as if we're going to live forever, which we're not.
But that private world, once it's dramatised, doesn't live again until it finds a reader.
I feel I grew up in a different century than I live in. I think most of them are changes for the good.
I've never written anything that hasn't been in my mind for a long time - seven or eight years.
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