I'm intrigued by the way in which physical appearance can often direct a person's life; things happen differently for a beautiful woman than for a plain one.
We make choices but are constantly foiled by happenstance.
Equally, we require a collective past - hence the endless reinterpretations of history, frequently to suit the perceptions of the present.
Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are.
The Photograph is concerned with the power that the past has to interfere with the present: the time bomb in the cupboard.
I'm not an historian but I can get interested - obsessively interested - with any aspect of the past, whether it's palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.
We all need a past - that's where our sense of identity comes from.
It seems to me that everything that happens to us is a disconcerting mix of choice and contingency.
The pleasure of writing fiction is that you are always spotting some new approach, an alternative way of telling a story and manipulating characters; the novel is such a wonderfully flexible form.
Deep down I have this atavistic feeling that really I should be in the country.
The consideration of change over the century is about loss, though I think that social change is gain rather than loss.
I didn't think I had anything particular to say, but I thought I might have something to say to children.
I've always been fascinated by the operation of memory - the way in which it is not linear but fragmented, and its ambivalence.
We read Greek and Norse mythology until it came out of our ears. And the Bible.
You learn a lot, writing fiction.
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