Polly Samson, novelist: 'William Trevor brings the subtlety and precision of the short story master to his longer work'

 

Thursday 12 March 2015 15:00
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Polly Samson's The Kindness is to be read more than once, not merely to enjoy again the beauty of the writing and the considerable insights into human experience, but to test the earlier narrative with the knowledge of what is to come. 
Polly Samson's The Kindness is to be read more than once, not merely to enjoy again the beauty of the writing and the considerable insights into human experience, but to test the earlier narrative with the knowledge of what is to come. 

Where are you now and what can you see?

In bed with the most never-ending man flu I can remember. Through the window is a slate coloured sea beneath an equally sombre sky – but an almost blindingly bright silver strip at the horizon gives me hope.

What are you currently reading?

Weightless, a first novel by Sarah Bannan. I'm reading with her at the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire next month and it's a chillingly forensic account of school-girl bullying. It reminds me very much in style of The Virgin Suicides, and like that book is written in the first person plural which is no mean feat.

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

William Trevor. He brings the subtlety and precision of the short story master to his longer work, allowing as much to happen between the lines as on them. His novel, The Story of Lucy Gault, is one I return to every few years.

Describe the room where you usually write

A small room at the top of the house where, crucially, the wi-fi doesn't reach. The desk faces the wall but I write mainly jack-knifed into an armchair and keep thick brown curtains drawn against the view.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

In my current state I feel like poor consumptive Mimi from La Bohème, coughing daintily into my hanky, so bravely struggling on…

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Frances Crook of The Howard League. She is a highly effective campaigner for penal reform.

Polly Samson's latest novel, 'The Kindness' is published by Bloomsbury (£14.99)

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