Nick Clegg on debut novel: ‘It is cringingly, toe-curlingly, puce-embarrassingly, pretentious adolescent tripe’

The Deputy Prime Minister has offered a damning review of his debut novel.
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If ever there was a reason to be pleased that Nick Clegg entered politics, rather than another profession, this could well be it.

While most politicians move into literature by writing a memoir, the Deputy Prime Minister tried his hand at fiction while he was a teenager. And according to the man himself, it’s every bit as terrible as his critics might imagine.

Inspired by the cerebral work of the late great Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the tome was thankfully (and by the sounds of it, understandably) never published – and Clegg hopes it stays that way.

“I wrote a novel that will never, ever see the light of day,” he told Shortlist.

“I found it recently. It is such cringingly, toe-curlingly, puce-embarrassingly, pretentious adolescent tripe. I’d just read The Autumn Of The Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which has no punctuation, so I went pure no-punctuation as well.”

The Deputy Prime Minister attributes the failings of his book to its subject.

“It was about the tortured memories of an old man,” he said. “I just don’t think that’s the right subject for an anguished teenager to write about.”

Elswhere in the interview, he goes onto discuss Russell Brand’s recent comments which encouraged the public not to vote – an age-old sentiment Clegg understands, but doesn't support.

“There are always people who say, ‘Everything’s pants, all politicians are the same, don’t vote, let’s have a revolution.’ I understand the emotion sometimes, I share their frustration,” he said.

“But the idea that you can achieve something with a message of despair… it’s self-defeating. It would be incomprehensible to the people in the past that fought for our right to vote. Dare I say it, I've done a lot more than Russell Brand to try to change politics.”

Unfortunately, he isn't brave enough to be grilled by Brand just yet.

“No doubt he’d make mincemeat of me, so I won’t be rushing to do that,” he said.

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