These Demented Lands

The novelist Alan Warner dreams of the perfect novel:

“This is the way to discover books: an undisciplined charge straight into them. That’s why I’ve always bristled at canons. It would have taken all the surprise, fun and excitement away if I’d known what I was meant to read. After all, once Herr Professors have decided what the great novels are, is there a particular order they should be read in, perhaps? It’s nonsense. A contributing factor to a writer’s creative personality is not just the books they’ve read but the order they read them in. It influences how we feel about each book, the way a certain piano chord may sound different between two other chords rather than after a silence.”

Related: The Man Who Walks extract; at Amazon; Granta Best of Young British Novelists.