I'm one of those unlucky people who had a happy childhood.
The biggest markets for my books outside the UK are France and Italy, and those are the two countries where I also have the closest personal relationships with my translators - I don't know whether that's a coincidence, or if there's something to be learned from it.
But at the same time, I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don't write short stories because they turn into novels.
But we are entitled to look for continuity in politics.
But you can try to read books at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons.
I think it's also the case that I'm not as widely travelled, or as well-educated in history, as most of the other novelists I meet: so I have to write about my own country, at the present time, because it's more or less all I know about!
Ah, well, I have no talent for nonfiction, that's my problem.
You would go mad if you began to speculate about the impact your novel might have while you were still writing it.
But I have always - ever since The Accidental Woman - written novels about individuals attempting to make choices in the context of situations over which they have no control.
I live a perfectly happy and comfortable life in Blair's Britain, but I can't work up much affection for the culture we've created for ourselves: it's too cynical, too knowing, too ironic, too empty of real value and meaning.
As soon as you start writing about how human beings interact with each other socially, you're into politics, aren't you?
As the books grew bigger and more ambitious, the situations in question sometimes became political ones, and so it became necessary to start painting in the social background on a scale which eventually became panoramic.
It seems to me that you would have to write a novel on a very small, intimate scale for it not to become political.
Luckily, in my case, I have managed, by writing, to do the one thing that I always wanted to do.
Thatcherism has become bigger than she ever was.
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