1

‘Irony is a courtesy, a secondary effect of good manners. It involves distancing yourself, opening up a space for ideas or positions other than your own. I’ve never taken myself very seriously, which has given me permission not to take anything or anyone very seriously. Ultimately, irony toes the dangerous line of disdain. I guess it depends on the person using it. I think my irony is tinged with kindness, it’s more humorous than acid, a smiling acceptance of the world just as it is.’

2

‘I use gaps in memory as a way to make jumps in time, give my stories a less linear rhythm, and create surprise. It’s also a very plausible technique; it’s quite realistic, because our lives are made up more by what we forget than what we remember. Generally speaking, I’d say I’m a fan of forgetting; it’s liberating, and usually errs on the side of happiness, while memory is a burden. It’s an ally of remorse, resentment, nostalgia, and other sad emotions.’

3

‘I don’t like books that, like a prostitute, offer themselves to the reader.’

4

‘I follow my whims; I follow the spontaneous decisions made in the moment. For serious deliberation and sensible decision-making there’s real life, where I conduct myself like the most proper middle-class family man. Writing is my freedom, where I receive orders from no one, not even from myself.’

5

‘If a little bird enters into the café where I’m writing – it did happen once – it also enters into what I’m writing. Even if a priori it doesn’t relate to anything, a posteriori I make it relate . . . In spite of all my admiration for Surrealism and Dadaism I never liked the mere accumulation of incongruous things. For me, everything has to be sewn together in a very conventional fashion. I always think of something. And what I think of also changes the course of the plot. Since the next day something different will happen at the café, the plot continues to change accordingly. That sinuous thread in my novels is more interesting to me, more writable, than a linear plot.’

Sources: 1. Ox and Pigeon interview; 2. BOMB Magazine; 3. Louisiana Channel; 4. Kill Your Darlings; 5. BOMB Magazine

Compiled by Remi Graves