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" My novels tend to come about from a fusion of two big ideas, creating a critical mass that then fissions, throwing off hundreds of other particles, riffs, tropes and characters. "
" To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail - the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. "
" It is not that sport, over-indulged in, coarsens the mind; it is that it dulls it. "
" In our benighted age, when films about amusement park rides and electronic fidgets scoop the honours, perhaps Hollywood redux is the best we can hope for. "
" Of course, with well-masticated food playing the role of social glue, it's absolutely essential that everyone clear their plate. Sod the starving kiddies in Africa - it's the overfed ones here we need to worry about. "
" A party full of 'likeable' people doesn't bear contemplating. "
" Whatever respect photography may once have deserved is now superfluous in view of its own superfluity. "
" The paradox of modernism is, writers make the decision to work with the continuous present, and to work with... stream of consciousness, as it's called, for emotional reasons, and the main emotional reason is verisimilitude. I mean, this is what surprises people: Life is not in the simple past. "
" As for critical writing about modernism, its moments of lucidity are but fulgurations illuminating the dark and incomprehensible landscape of its subject's unabashed difficulty. "
" Continuous present is all we have, and stream of consciousness - which in a novel is arguably just as artificial as the stilted dialogue that you get in most conventional novels. They're all stratagems to try to get closer to the texture of lived life. "
" Death, the real simile for disease - for when we are ill, do we not always feel like we are dying, even if it's only a little? - remains, despite our secularism, the most metaphoricised phenomenon of all. "
" Lives don't divide up into chapters. People don't just talk, while nothing's going on in their head, and then respond. You know, none of these things actually happen. "
" Not only is the statistical madness an assault on individuality, it's also one on temporality too. Statistics - even when accurate - are only an image of the past that can then be Photoshopped before being pasted on to the future. "
" Life, it is true, can be grasped in all its confused futility merely by opening one's eyes and sitting passively, a spectator on the stands of history - but to understand the social processes and conflicts, the interplay between individual and group, even the physicality of human experience, we have need of small-scale models. "
" There's a flip side to having prominent public intellectuals, which is that they start meddling in politics and often with quite disastrous results. "
" The novelist, quite rightly, fears the psychoanalyst as both an enemy and a usurper. "
" The high arts of literature and music stand in a curious relationship to one another, at once securely comfortable and deeply uneasy - rather like a long-term marriage. "
" Is there anything more useless than a crouton? I sometimes wake up in the small hours with a start and realise that what's roused me is an overpowering urge to visit violence on its originator. "
" Some people have human muses - mine is a city. I feel a startling ambivalence towards London, but for better or worse my work has come utterly to depend upon it. "
" It might be an idea for all literary critics to read the books they analyse aloud - it certainly helps to fix them in the mind, while providing a readymade seminar with your audience. "
" Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever. "
" You can always spot a 'television personality', even when they aren't actually on television, because they carry their 'made-up' persona in front of them, like some sort of baffler, or Ready Brek force field. Their reach for notoriety predicated on that fulsome mediocrity of talent detailed above has become frozen in their faces. "
" The whole aesthetics of computers very much feeds into my OCD. They fill my head with obsessionalities and my actions become very repetitive. It seems quite inimical to the dreamy state out of which fiction comes which seems so much less causally repetitive than the way one works on computers. "
" I prefer to write first drafts as soon as possible after waking, so that the oneiric inscape is still present to me. "
" What more chilling indictment of the modern world is there than this: that the condition of the smartphone user is that of a dumb animal. Moooo! "
" From time to time, as if heaven-sent to annoy, someone will ask me if I'm self-disciplined when it comes to my work. I usually look witheringly at them and snarl, 'What do you think?' I mean, how do you imagine anyone writes a quarter of a million words a year for publication? "
" The only proper suit-and-tie job I've had in my life was the two years in the late 1980s when I ran a small corporate publishing company. I even had a Ford Sierra! "
" If the government announced that it was going to allocate a vast tranche of education funding purely to the pupils at the best public schools, there would be a national outcry - and yet this is precisely what the Olympics represents in terms of sports funding. "
" For myself, I haven't been content to carry on producing books that merely strain against the conventions - as I've grown older, and realised that there aren't that many books left for me to write, so I've become determined that they should be the fictive equivalent of ripping the damn corset off altogether and chucking it on the fire. "
" A very beautiful young woman once asked me to sign her breasts. That was back when I was a hip young thing - it's been all downhill since then. "
" The great liberty of the fictional writer is to let the imagination out of the traces and see it gallop off over the horizon. "