One Minute With: Jed Rubenfeld, novelist

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my publishers' office, in a tower in central London, looking out over the city. It's grey - just what I expected London to look like.

Whar are you currently reading?

'A Gate at the Stairs' by Lorrie Moore. What a beautiful writer.... Each sentence is constructed by someone with such an elegant and discerning eye for language and the world.

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

Kazuo Ishiguro. I've read every book he has written... Here's someone else with an exquisite ability to captivate you with his language – and to capture the human drama.

Describe the room where you usually write

Most of my writing takes place behind a computer at home in New Haven, Connectictut, where Yale University is located. New Haven was once a beautiful town – it isn't so much any more, but I have a nice view over a lovely part of it.

What distracts you from writing?

My children, who are now 17 and 14. They've reached the age where I am trying to find any excuse to spend more time with them.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

In my own writing, I suppose it has be [the psychologist] Stratham Younger – but I wish it was the detective, Jimmy Littlemore.

What are your readers like when you met them?

They tend to be people who like historical fiction – who like to learn more about a particular time and place. I have very cordial relations with the Freudians [Freud appears in 'The Interpretation of Murder'], who were very supportive of the novel.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Abraham Lincoln. I still tell stories about him to my kids. He was a man of tremendous integrity, morality and self-restraint. And he was one of the few politicians who transcends politics.

Jed Rubenfeld's novel 'The Death Instinct' is published by Headline Review