One minute with: Paul Harding, novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my study in Massachusetts. I can see the viburnum tree and the birds blipping around in it, and the sunny lawn beyond.

What are you currently reading?

'The Ambassadors', by Henry James; 'Wallace Stevens's Selected Poems'; 'A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson', by James Eliot Cabot; passages in Karl Barth's 'Church Dogmatics'.

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

Right now I'm under the spell of Henry James and his sublime renderings of the nuances of consciousness.

Describe the room where you usually write

I can and do write almost anywhere – hotels, planes, broom closets, the gutter. When I can, I write in my study, which is a by-the-book old fashioned place with built-in bookcases and wood panelling.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Who's that lazy guy in Goncharov's book: Oblomov? He's too much of a sybarite, I guess. But I resemble whoever likes to lie around on the couch.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I am especially in love with the jazz drummer Elvin Jones.

Paul Harding's new novel is 'Enon' (Heinemann)