Herman Koch, novelist: 'Anton Chekhov's clear prose could have been written yesterday'

 

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am sitting at the kitchen table at home. I can see a park not so far in the distance, people on bicycles or jogging. A tractor is cutting grass.

Farther in the distance, between the trees at my horizon, sometimes a boat passes by. At my back is the city, only a few hundred yards away, but in front of me it looks like I am in the countryside.

What are you currently reading?

My Father's Tears by John Updike, a collection of short stories he wrote in the last ten years of his life. There are a lot of old people in it, some of them dying, but so beautifully written that I only read one story a day, in the morning, and more often, just a few pages.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/him

Anton Chekhov, for his clear prose that could have been written yesterday.

Describe the room where you usually write

I change a lot between rooms in the house. Today I'm writing at the kitchen table, yesterday, lying down on the sofa. Wherever I am with my laptop and notebook is the room where I write. Next week it could be a hotel room.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Every first person fictional character that is no older than seventeen.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

At the moment, it is Robin van Persie, the best Dutch soccer player since Johan Cruyff.

Herman Koch's latest novel, 'Summer House with Swimming Pool' is published by Atlantic

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