One Minute With: John Banville, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm at my desk in my 'studio apartment' in the centre of Dublin. I can see the wall that I seem to spend half my working day staring at. If I turn my head I can see the roofs of Dublin.

What are you currently reading?

Reiner Stach's 'Kafka: The Years of Insight', volume III of this vast, masterly biography.

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

I'll plump for Henry James... the greatest of the great novelists.

Describe the room where you usually write

It's small, not very tidy but not cluttered either. It has two desks at right angles to each other, with my manuscript book on one and my computer on the other. The windows steam up when I'm working.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

The hero, if that's the word, of Dostoyevsky's 'Notes from Underground'. That's on bad days. On good days... the Angel from Rilke's 'Duino Elegies'. There are not many good days, in my line of work.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

My dog Rex, a Border Collie. He is unfailingly cheerful, willingly takes me for walks, and to humour me chases a ball when I throw it for him.

John Banville's novel 'Ancient Light' is out as a Penguin paperback