One Minute With: Marcel Theroux, novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my study looking at a computer screen beyond which I can see the sky over SW17: Tooting, God's own country.

What are you currently reading?

I've just started John Gray's book on Isaiah Berlin, I've got Dostoevsky's 'Devils' on the go, and am about to finish 'Tolkien and the Great War', a great biography by John Garth, and a short story collection, 'Antarctica', by the brilliant Claire Keegan.

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

Chekhov for his enormous talent, his good nature, and his calmness in the face of chronic illness and the knowledge of his imminent death.

Describe the room where you usually write

I work in a spare room in my house with a wobbly desk.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Toad from Arnold Lobel's wonderful series of books for children about Frog and Toad. If you haven't read them, all you need to know is that Toad is irritable and usually in the wrong, but he's redeemed by his friendship with Frog.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

St Francis of Assisi, for gentleness and compassion.

Marcel Theroux's novel, 'Strange Bodies', is published by Faber