I did not bring a television set out here with me, and I regret it sometimes when the evenings get long, but my idea was that living alone you can soon get stuck to those flickering images and to the chair you will sit on far into the night, and then time merely passes as you let others do the moving.
All my life I have longed to be alone in a place like this. Even when everything was going well, as it often did. I can say that much. That it often did. I have been lucky. But even then, for instance in the middle of an embrace and someone whispering words in my ear I wanted to hear, I could suddenly get a longing to be in a place where there was only silence. Years might go by and I did not think about it, but that does not mean that I did not long to be there. And now I am here, and it is almost exactly as I had imagined it.
One of my many horrors is to become the man with the frayed jacket and unfastened flies standing at the Co-op counter with egg on his shirt and more too because the mirror in the hall has given up the ghost. A shipwrecked man without an anchor in the world except in his own liquid thoughts where time has lost its sequence.
...when it came to dying, I was scared. Not of being dead, that I could not comprehend, to be nothing was impossible to grasp and therefore really nothing to be scared of, but the dying itself I could comprehend, the very instant when you know that now comes what you have always feared, and you suddenly realise that every chance of being the person you really wanted to be, is gone for ever, and the one you were, is the one those around you will remember.
At first I wanted to go to university, but I really didn't dare to. I was too self-conscious, being a working-class kid. It was really difficult. I was going to study history, but the professor asked me some questions I didn't understand, and I didn't dare to ask what they meant. I left university and went to work in the Post.
To me, a book is a book. A novel is a novel, and you have hundreds of possibilities, options, and they may all be fine. Charles Dickens or Ingeborg Bachmann, Claude Simon or later writers. The one and only condition is that it has to be good: it has to have quality, substance, atmosphere.
I was born in 1952, so obviously the sixties were important. That's when I came of age. It was also a revolutionary period, a complete break with the generation before us in terms of culture, literature, music, and in politics, of course. 1968 was an important year; I was 16, and the world became clear to me, visible, so to say.
To say that a family is happy I think is to diminish it, taking out what is interesting. Growing up, I don't think my family was any happier or unhappier than anyone else's. My mother and father should have been divorced or never even married. On the other hand, I remember many moments of happiness.
I don't know if nature is a direct literary influence on my writing, but it is certainly important to me. I take great joy in writing about it. It is something I have taken with me from my childhood; the body exposed to the threat of the physical world and at the same time being at home in it.
I come from a working-class family. They're the people I know and the people I love, I guess. I do not write about them for political reasons, but because, as I see it, most interesting things - social, political, emotional - take place there. It's a bottomless well for an author like me.