Wednesday, August 16, 2006

John Banville

I saw an interview with John Banville this morning, as part of the Edinburgh Book Festival. I've been a fan of his for several years, since I lived in Ireland and read Book of Evidence and the Revolutions Trilogy, and it was exciting to see the writer sometimes referred to as the greatest living novelist of the English language. The conversation mostly centered around The Sea, his novel which won the Booker last year. He gave some great insight into the writing process, was witty and friendly and seemed like a man with genuine curiosity and astonishment at the things around him. But I have to say, both the interviewer and the audience questioners were horrible. The worst question from the interviewer: "You said a bit ago that you've always loved watching the sky and the clouds. And yet you called your last book The Sea. Why didn't you call it The Sky, or The Sea and the Sky?" And one audience member saw fit to waste all of our time by asking Banville which recent detective novels he liked. Banville did not answer.

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