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Paul Auster interview

Paul Auster interview

In the first of our Man Booker Prize 2017 longlisted author interviews we speak to Paul Auster about his ‘sprinting elephant’ novel 4 3 2 1 and find out his favourite Man Booker-winning novels.

What has it been like to be longlisted?

I’m not sure. The announcement dropped down from the sky, and I’m still trying to make sense of what happened.

What are you working on next?

It’s too soon for me to begin another novel, but in the meantime, I’ve been reading and doing research for a biography/study of an  American writer from the late 19th century—a project I’ve been dreaming about for many years.

What are you reading at the moment?

Almost exclusively books by and about the writer in question.  

What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

I don’t have the list in front of me, but off the top of my head I would say Salman Rushdie’s Midnight Children and the two books by J.M. Coetzee - Life and Times of Michael K. and Disgrace.

What were the challenges set by writing a long book rather and a short one? Indeed did you intend 4 3 2 1 to be a long book when you started?

Because of the novel’s premise, I knew it would be long before I started writing it. The challenge was to keep it as swift and lean as possible, which meant cutting down rather than adding on. I know the book is an elephant, but I hope it's a sprinting elephant.