Waterstone’s Quarterly interview with Ian McEwan

Solar_article  I enjoyed browsing through the latest edition of Waterstone's Books Quarterly ,which I was given at the checkout last weekend after spending vast sums of money on some volumes for someone I live with. The highlight, for me, was a Q/A with author Ian McEwan, the questions being by Waterstone's customers, mainly about his latest novel Solar (which I am so much looking forward to reading). Here is my favourite bit:

Q: What has been the biggest change in you as a writer in …35 years and what has been the biggest change in publishing?

A: The biggest change in me probably came sometime in the early 1980s – becoming a father, stopping writing for a while and then going back to write A Child In Time [is this or Atonement my favourite book by this magnificent author?] . A sort of shift took place around that time. [Me too.] As for publishing, I can only draw on my own experience. Publishing in the 1970s was still a rather dusty, gentlemanly affair. It was still the time of the long two-bottle lunch and accountants were of very little importance. Not much money was made and one distrusted any writer who sold more than a couple of thousand copies of a book. I don't think novelists in those times were the subject of gossip columns, either. So everything has become a little louder, a little more vulgar, a little more trashy, a little more celebrity-conscious, sales-conscious. Less sleepy and considerably more sparky. More fun in lots of ways.

Solar is reviewed in the current issue of Nature (28 April 2010). Read more about the book at the author's website.

5 thoughts on “Waterstone’s Quarterly interview with Ian McEwan

  1. An interesting post Maxine. I must admit I have not read enough Ian McEwan’s books. I did not like the film based on Atonement, but can’t speak about the book, but I like On Chesil Beach very much.

  2. You do wonder how any poor writer ever made enough to pay for those long lunches let alone a roof over their heads don’t you?
    Have you tackled Solar yet? I admit I am putting it off because the reviews and general chat haven’t inspired me – I would almost rather a scathing review than the ‘oh it’s not so bad really’ sort of thing which most reviews I’ve seen have said. This month they discussed the book on a TV-based book club show here and of the 5 panelists only one thought it much good – the rest all danced around ways of saying they didn’t think much of it. I think I’ll put my copy away for a while until I’ve managed to forget the sort of ennui that has surrounded this one.

  3. Of course you haven’t tackled Solar – you said so – I am very tired this morning (a woman over 40 should not apparently go out socialising past her bed time on 2 consecutive word-day evenings).

  4. hee hee! I am always doing that, Bernadette, thinking I’ve read a post and writing a comment, then realising I haven’t read it properly after all. That socialising is important stuff, especially for women who have reached “the right age to fully appreciate it”!
    Jose – I loved the book Atonement, and almost all of Ian McEwan’s books. I am so much looking forward to this one – Nature gave it a good review (by an eminent climate scientist).

  5. That’s interesting that the scientist liked it Maxine…perhaps I won’t hide it away for quite so long then. I do generally like McEwan’s books. We’ll see.

Comments are closed.