What constitutes a really great work of fiction?

We have all done it, set down eagerly to read a new book and come away disappointed after the first few pages. It is not easy to create a gripping tale, but when an author gets it right, the result is priceless. This got me thinking about the characteristics that are actually found in a […]

The State of Modern Fiction

What the fuck is going on with modern fiction?! I’m dying to read that wonderful book, which has a bloody big heart, yet I cannot find it. Gifted writers I greatly admire like William Boyd are now forced to churn out books like Restless, an all-too-familiar spy thriller that will be forgotten in no time, […]

A Descent Into Darkness

It was the beginning of 2007 and life ambled along until the darkness struck, creeping up on me like a dense black cloud and then raining down on me, upon which my world was turned upside down for good. I was thirty-four years old, still single, and wondered whether I was destined to be a […]

Staple – Getting In Print – the need, the sweat, and just a little luck

Staple, No. 69/70, Summer/Autumn 2008 Getting in print is damn hard these days, and you’re always going to need a little luck! If you’re not a celebrity – and preferably one that is a chef, model, singer, footballer, media pundit or talent show judge – then chances are you’re going to struggle. And even if […]

Arena – Don Don

Arena, 2007 When I set about writing my second novel I realized I had to get deep into the hearts and minds of two very different men – one, a brash and bullish American millionaire with a formidable appetite for self-gratification and excess; the other, a wise and noble Thai Buddhist monk who lives a […]

Zembla – It’s Me, Eddie, by Eduard Limonov

Zembla, No. 9, Winter 2005 The obscure book I’d like to tell you about is Eduard Limonov’s autobiographical work, It’s me, Eddie (or, in Russian, Eto ia – Edichka). Limonov was the enfant terrible of Russian letters in the late ’70s and ’80s, an identity he openly welcomed. His purposeful, vigorous and flamboyant assault both on Mother […]