Cultural life: Alison MacLeod, novelist

'I saw Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing and absolutely loved it'

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The Independent Culture


I saw Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing and absolutely loved it. It was just so clean, so contemporary and surprising. I went feeling slightly wary, but I got completely pulled in. I loved how contemporary and fresh and edgy they made it. And beautiful, as well.


The only thing I'm really watching at the moment is The Returned. I find it gripping and slightly mesmerising. I'm not usually somebody for supernatural horror, but I love how cool and uncanny it is. I'm just so gripped by the characters and the subtlety of it all.


I'm reading Katherine Mansfield's letters – I just had no idea they were so good in their own right.

I loved George Saunders' Tenth of December. I find the collection really exciting, partly because of the way he uses language – making it contemporary, fresh, but down-to-earth and unaffected at the same time.


I'm just rediscovering The Smiths – lyrically they're so good, it's such a sly wit.

Visual Arts

I had a wander to the National Gallery the other day. I'm fascinated by Van Gogh – I didn't know about his painting Two Crabs. I stood in front of it and was strangely hooked.

Alison MacLeod's novel 'Unexploded', longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, is out now