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Comment from the book world in November 2019

November 2019

‘What really annoys me'

18 November 2019

‘What really annoys me are the ones who write to say, I am doing your book for my final examinations and could you please tell me what the meaning of it is. I find it just so staggering - that you're supposed to explain the meaning of your book to some total stranger! If I knew what the meanings of my books were, I wouldn't have bothered to write them.'

Margaret Drabble, author of 20 novels, including The Dark Flood Rises, A Summer Bird-Cage, The Needle's Eye and The Ice Age.

 

'Thirty-five years'

11 November 2019

‘Before the actual placing of words on pages, The Testaments was written partly in the minds of the readers of its predecessor, The Handmaid's Tale, who kept asking what happened after the end of that novel. Thirty-five years is a long time to think about possible answers, and the answers have changed as society itself has changed and as possibilities have become actualities. The citizens of many countries, including the United States, are under more stress now than they were three decades ago.'

Margaret Atwood, author of The Testaments, The Handmaid's Tale, Lady Oracle, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace and 12 other novels, as well as poetry books, children's books and non-fiction, in the Sunday Times' Culture. http://margaretatwood.ca/

'One extra day'

4 November 2019

‘When the last autumn of Dickens's life was over, he continued to work through his final winter and into spring. This is how all of us writers give away the days and years and decades of our lives in exchange for stacks of paper with scratches and squiggles on them. And when Death calls, how many of us would trade all those pages, all that squandered lifetime-worth of painfully achieved scratches and squiggles, for just one more day, one more fully lived and experienced day? And what price would we writers pay for that one extra day spent with those we ignored while we were locked away scratching and squiggling in our arrogant years of solipsistic isolation?

Would we trade all those pages for a single hour? Or all of our books for one real minute?'

Dan Simmons, author of 37 horror, science fiction, fantasy and historical novels and collections of short stories, including Drood, Hyperion and The Terror.