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Interview with Nicholas Mosley

Nicholas Mosley’s reputation as a writer has often been obscured by the extraordinary nature of his family background. Born in 1923 to an aristocratic family, he inherited the title of 3rd Baron Ravensdale. His grandfather was George Curzon, the last Viceroy of India to serve under Queen Victoria. He is also the son of Oswald Mosley, who founded the British Union of Fascists in 1932. Nicholas’s mother, Cynthia Curzon, died when he was ten, and afterwards his father married Diana Mitford.

 

Mosley’s extensive bibliography contains nineteen novels and eleven non-fiction titles. His early novels employ a realist style and possess a moral intensity in part inspired by French Existentialism. During World War II he served in the British Army in Italy, an experience he drew on for his first novel, Spaces of the Dark (1951), and which haunts many of his subsequent fictions.

 

Perhaps the best place to begin exploring Mosley’s oeuvre is Accident (1965), which was adapted into a well-known film starring Dirk Bogarde, directed by Joseph Losey and scripted by Harold Pinter. While the film is strong, the novel is even more so, its action taking place within a vivid portrait of Oxford University and its environs, coloured with ominous undertones. The narrative sees a philosopher-don’s moral system brought into question after one of his students is involved in a car crash that he feels personally responsible for.

 

In Impossible Object (1968) Mosley stretched his fiction into more abstract, modernist territories. In this series of subtly interwoven short stories the precise identities of a number of married couples and lovers are made oblique, to suggest how even spouses can remain, finally, unknown to each other.

 

The novel which deals most directly with the political consequences of his family life and upbringing is Hopeful Monsters (1990), an epic spanning some 550 pages, which examines the competing ideological confusions of the 1930s through the love story of a Jewish-German anthropologist and an English physicist working on the atomic bomb. It is one of the most important and fully realized British novels of recent decades and deserves to be far better known than it currently is.

 

His most recent book is Metamorphosis (2014), which considers the possibilities of human evolution through the story of a mysterious child, thought to possess an unprecedented physiology, who is discovered by a humanitarian aid worker in East Africa.

 

This interview took place one afternoon in June 2014, shortly before Mosley’s 91st birthday, in the front room of his house in North London. Behind him was an enormous wall covered with books both old and recent, whilst to his left were shelves crowded with many objects suggesting an infatuation with mysticism, including Hindu statuettes, classical Chinese paintings and a pair of golden rhinoceroses. The curtains were drawn throughout our conversation, bathing the room in shadows, which were illuminated only by lamplight.

 

Q

The White Review

— Given some of the darkness and violence that you find in some of your books, and also optimism as well, would you describe yourself as an optimist or a pessimist, as a writer?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— There’s certainly a problem in all my books, that various people feel very pessimistic. I think one of the themes that I have is that there is so much evil in the world, not only in politics. There are obvious evils in Pakistan and Nigeria – where they kidnap girls or stone them to death – and there are wars and people blow up hundreds and thousands of people at the same time, and one can’t quite understand why. They almost need to have war. It seems that there’s no need for the obvious evil in the world, whether it’s political evil on a large scale or on a personal level. I mean, why are people so often unhappy? Why do people marry and it’s all wonderful for a time and then it becomes not so wonderful, then everything goes badly, then you start again and say, ‘Oh, it’s wonderful!’ and then it’s not so wonderful.

 

I was in the war from the ages of nineteen to twenty-one, and there was a various mixture, even in the war. There was such evil going on, but in the middle of the evil there seemed to be chances for people to be happy because they were feeling fulfilled, they were doing something worthwhile. In all my novels I think this sort of paradox interests me and fascinates me. I didn’t want to find any answer to it – there isn’t any answer, it is just something that is there, going up and down like an ocean wave – but I wanted to understand how one could embrace it, how one could accept this extraordinary to and fro between good and evil, happiness and unhappiness.

 

I was only twenty-two, twenty-three when I wrote my first book. I wanted to write a book that would be accepted, that would be published and read, so I wrote a very sad story about a man who had shot his friend in the war for one reason or another. He comes home and he falls in love with the person he shot’s sister and he’s trapped. He’s trapped falling in love with someone with this awful past hanging over him. The second book was also about love being a sort of trap, and the third book and the fourth book and so forth and so on.

Q

The White Review

— Do you think these early books were pessimistic? Was that a consequence of being in the war?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Yes, I think they were pessimistic, but I think they were saying, things happen in wartime that you can’t get over, and there’s no point in saying ‘put that out of mind’. You just have to bear it.

 

In my early books there was not much happiness. There was happiness for a short time, but I got fed up with this because I read all the literature that one was supposed to read – Russian literature or French novels. I became obsessed with the way almost all the novels either had a sad end or had an absolutely meaningless happy end halfway through the story, where two people meet and they love one another – ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’ – and that’s the end of that. What one wants to know is what happens after that. I remember feeling that about Pride and Prejudice, for instance. Elizabeth and Darcy suddenly find that they love one another, but what one wants to know is what the hell happened then.

 

I think all my early novels were very sad. It’s very difficult. One just has to accept it and stick it out. After that I had a break and I wrote one or two other things – a travel book and a biography – but then I pulled myself together as it were. I said to myself, ‘I want to start writing novels again. I’m a novelist. I want to try to write a novel that says, how can one handle this extraordinary thing about life, the way that sadness and happiness are sort of intermingled?’

Q

The White Review

— You became a Christian at some point, and then I believe you left the Church. How has that influenced this outlook?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— I didn’t leave the Church, not really. I was first influenced by one of my great school friends who went out to the war with me – firstly to North Africa and then to Italy in 1943 – but he was wounded and came home. This chap, he’d been home about two years before I saw him again, and he suddenly announced he was going to become a monk. I thought he’d gone utterly bonkers.

 

I’d been brought up by a nanny who took us off to church every Sunday, my sister and I, so I did know what Christianity was, but after the war I didn’t think it had anything to do with me. I thought of the war on a simple level: if there’s a God, how can he let such things happen? The war that I was involved in was rather crazy, quite literally. I went to Italy and was fighting my way up to Germany but the people we were fighting weren’t Italians, we were fighting the Germans who were coming down from the north. So I was involved in a war with English boys trying to kill German boys in Italy. We had nothing against the people who we were actually shooting at, and as far as I could tell they didn’t want to fight us. They were ordered by the lunatics in Germany and we were told to fight back by Churchill and Halifax. One can’t call them lunatics, but one did wonder, if one was trying to be a Christian, whether one could call God a lunatic.

 

When I got back from the war in 1945 I had quite a strange time. I had an odd relationship with my father. He was leader of the British Fascists in the 1930s, and so when the war started he was put in prison. There were no charges against him, he was never accused of anything. He was just put in prison as a security risk. When I got home I used to go and see him, because by that time I was a young officer. He was then with my stepmother, and they’d been put in the same prison in Holloway. He was one of the people I could talk with, and we used to talk about everything except politics: about ideas, philosophy, literature. I did try to sort things out by talking to him, but then by the end of the 1940s he started going back into politics and all the talks that I’d had with him seemed to be being thrown away. I was then on my own again. I felt very much at a loose end.

 

So I had this letter from my old army friend saying that he was becoming a monk. He said, ‘Before you go on saying the whole thing is mad, just meet this man, come and meet this monk that I’ve become so close to. Meet him, talk with him, and then do what you like’. So I went to this chap called Father Raynes, who was head of the community up in Yorkshire. He was a very authentic holy man, and he had an enormous effect on me. I was saying things like, ‘I think this world is such a mad place. It’s so evil and I can’t understand what you mean by God’, and he would just say to me, ‘If you think this world is totally evil, you better get out of it quick.’ What he was really saying was that we know, but what we’ve got to do is to learn to deal with it, we have to learn how to accept it. I felt for a certain amount of time that I was absolutely a practicing Christian. It didn’t matter if the world was mad, one need not be mad oneself.

Q

The White Review

— What caused your leaving formal worship?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— There’s a strange split here, because at the same time that I was going to my local village church in Sussex, which was very much Church of England, I also used to go up to this monastery where my old army friend and Father Raynes were, and they were very Anglo-Catholic. When I asked Father Raynes in my first meeting with him, ‘What should I do?’ he just said, ‘What you must do is go to mass, take communion, make your confession, and then see what God tells you to do.’ The most extraordinary thing was that if one did what Father Raynes said then strange things did actually happen. In a very difficult situation in which there was no answer, suddenly there was a sort of answer. One might entail a lot of worry and a bit of hurt, but in the end it all made sense.

 

I never stopped calling myself a Christian. It just didn’t enter my head because I’d had enough experience of it, of the way life worked if you went to Holy Communion, if you took the sacrament, if you made your confession. Things happened that did seem to be different. Quite ordinary things seemed to be different. Not always easier, in fact sometimes absolutely not easier, but life seemed to be different.

Q

The White Review

— How have these religious beliefs played out in your fiction?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— I didn’t ever want to bring it directly into my novels. None have dealt with church-going people. I said to myself, I’m going to write about what I’ve learned from Christianity but I won’t mention church-going, I won’t mention the usual stuff. Accident was taken from a background that I was aware of, but it was absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Well, it actually was. I hoped there would be a feel in Accident of ‘one must do the right thing, and then trust, hope for the best.’ One can do that without bringing God into it.

 

There was a crucial scene towards the end of Accident in which two middle-aged, married, rather disreputable men meet. There’s been this car crash and a young man has been killed. It wasn’t him who had been driving the car; in fact it was a girl. Both the men had been vaguely flirting with this girl in her early twenties, and in fact one was having an affair with her. These men meet and they say, ‘What is the right thing to do here? Are we going to stand up in a court of the law and say the girl was nothing to do with it?’ They talk about this and they agree that it is the right thing to do, because if it comes out publicly that the girl was drunk without a license and the young man sitting by her side is dead, it will ruin that girl’s life. ‘But on the other hand, are we going to lie?’ So what they decide to do, or what my hero decides to do, he says, ‘If it comes to a court of law and people ask us a direct question and we’ve sworn on the bible to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth then we will have to tell the truth, but if no one asks us a direct question and we keep our mouths shut, that doesn’t mean we’re doing something wrong, it means we’re actually doing something right. What we’re doing is helping this girl.’

Q

The White Review

— Did you think that that was the right moral decision?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Well, yes. If you’re asked a direct question then it becomes a moral question, but the idea that just because one knows things one’s got to rush to the police station and say, ‘I’ve got a real bit of dirt for you,’ I think that’s absolute nonsense. One sees the way things work out. This is the crucial thing in my later books like Hopeful Monsters. One watches the way things work out and then if it works out, like in Accident, if it works out that the young man is dead and there’s nothing I can do about that, if it works out that no one else does know that the girl was in the car, then it is not a moral obligation that we should think, ‘I must be righteous. I must go to the police.’ What God – if we’re going to use the word God – what God is telling me is not ‘thou shalt ruin this girl’s life.’

Q

The White Review

Accident was made into a well-known film. I understand that you had issues with this precise thing, a scene in which they discuss the morality of the situation, which Pinter wanted to cut. Did you like the film, despite your reservations?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— I liked it, yes, and Harold Pinter was very good with me. He rang me up to say he’d been asked to do something with the script. We met up and talked about it and I wrote to Harold and said, ‘There are two things that are different in your script: one is this very serious moral conversation that the two men have.’ Harold said to me, ‘I’m awfully sorry I couldn’t write that, it’s just not the sort of scene I’ve ever written or ever could write.’

 

I liked Harold’s plays, I was quite a fan of his, but there was another scene that I felt there was really no reason for. There is a scene in the book after the crash where one man goes up to the house. He doesn’t exactly take the girl up but she follows him. He puts her to bed upstairs and then there’s a little scene where he just looks at her, rolls his eyes and laughs because he’s got this beautiful young girl in bed. So he goes downstairs and rings his friend who’s been having an affair with her, and the other chap comes round and they have their moral conversation. But in the film, in Harold’s script, when the hero puts her to bed he hops into bed with her as well! I said to him, ‘This is absolutely absurd! If the first time this girl is both drunk and unconscious he hops into bed with her, you can’t then say, “What shall we do about the moral problem?” This is ridiculous! People that I know, men that I know, just wouldn’t ever do it.’ Harold just said, ‘Men that I know would.’

Q

The White Review

— Why did you first decide to become a writer?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Why did I become a writer? I think I just always had this taste. I suppose I was one of those lonely boys. My sister was two years older than me, so there were two of us in the nursery upstairs and we were looked after by the most wonderful nanny, but at the same time it was a very odd life. When I was very young we had a house in London, quite near the House of Commons because my father was an MP. After the First World War he became a Conservative but then crossed the floor of the House because he objected to their attitude towards Irish freedom. We very rarely ever saw my father and mother, except my father used to turn up every now and then and come up to our bedroom to say goodnight and make jokes. The one thing he did with children was he had a whole string of sad jokes. He called us porkers so he’d come in and sort of grunt and ask, ‘How are the porkers tonight?’ In that way he was a very good father who was hardly ever there. By 1927 my mother became a Labour MP too. We hardly ever saw them, so I read a lot.

 

I don’t know what made me like books, but I did. I had my favourites right up until I was in the army. When I went off to Italy I carried a great tin full of books that I thought would last me however long – well, I must say, I was a young officer by this time so a rather unfortunate chap had to carry my things. Anyway, all through the war I was reading novels, also philosophy. If I ever did get up to Oxford I wanted to read philosophy, not because I was frightfully keen on what I read but because I disagreed. I couldn’t quite understand what anyone was talking about. I remember one of the books that I carried round with me through North Africa and then through northern Italy was quite a big book of excerpts from Plato. I read it in the pouring rain in trenches and I’ve still got it. I underlined bits with an exclamation mark at the side, and then, ‘Rubbish! What a load of absolute nonsense.’ I couldn’t understand what Plato was on about.

 

I wanted to be a writer because I didn’t want to do anything else. I didn’t want to write books about politics. My father, he’d written one or two books about politics, and when I told him at the end of the war that I wanted to be a novelist he said he couldn’t understand it. He said, ‘Novelists tell fairy-stories, nothing to do with anything. Why don’t you write serious stuff? Why don’t you write about facts?’ I said, ‘Facts? You can write about anything. Nobody knows what facts are.’ Writing about facts is all ‘Ya, boo, sucks!’ A novel ought to be a work of art, and a work of art isn’t saying ‘Ya, boo, sucks!’ It’s trying to say all in one, ‘Ya, sucks, boo!’ My father rolled his eyes. I don’t think he read any of my novels. Well, he probably did, but he certainly didn’t talk about any of them with me.

Q

The White Review

Impossible Object seemed to be more formally experimental than your previous works. Why did you choose the form of that book?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— After writing Accident I was taken up by the film world a bit and there were quite a lot of offers. While this was happening I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to write.’ I tried to write a short novel called Assassins, a popular novel, a popular thriller that I didn’t give a damn about. It was absolutely not popular, an absolute flop. Then I think I wrote my biography of Father Raynes, then a short travel book called African Switchback, because I went on a journey through West Africa with a friend. I took a certain amount of trouble with the travel book, but it wasn’t very interesting. Then the Losey/Pinter film of Accident came out and I cared about what Pinter had done, what Pinter had changed, and I saw that most people would see what Pinter was on about. I think I then retired. I suppose this was just the time that my first marriage was going through difficulties. My wife had gone off to the Isle of Man where her family had bought certain property, and she was saying, ‘I want to live here’. I remember feeling, ‘I’ve got to cut all this off. I’m not going to go on writing the same lot of novels.’ So I got a little flat in London while our house in Sussex was put up for sale and I spent a lot of time on my own.

 

I then wrote Impossible Object, partly because I had become very much taken up with this painter, an imaginative man called M. C. Escher, a great ‘impossible object’ man. The definition of an impossible object is something that can exist in two dimensions but can’t exist in three. Art is an impossible object, and an impossible object can hold something that an ordinary ‘not-impossible’ object can’t hold.

Q

The White Review

— The triangle that is reprinted in this edition, was it a sort of key to your inspiration for this?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Yes, it actually was; the triangle and the cube in which the horizontal line goes over the back. The extraordinary drawing that Escher used to do was of the staircase that goes on going up and up and up and up forever, and you look at it and it’s perfectly drawn and then you suddenly realise that the staircase doesn’t go up forever. It comes up and then it goes down. I became very interested in this and I saw really what I had been trying to say, that life is an impossible object and love is an impossible object, because one loves and it’s very true, but then you’re going on the staircase and all of a sudden you realise that you’re going down. The only way you can possibly think that it’s all one is by making a work of art. So I had to write a book called Impossible Object.

 

At this time I went out on my own on a great journey. I went all the way across America and down to Mexico and then all the way through Mexico. I was on my own for months and months and months.

Q

The White Review

— Was this when the book first came to you?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Yes, then it came to me. It’s got these eight stories, and in between each story there’s a little bit in italics.

Q

The White Review

— Yes, I was interested to hear why you’d chosen to insert those parts?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— I wrote those parts when I was travelling. In the evenings I used to sit in a café or a bar wherever I was staying and write, certainly those early bits in italics. I was trying to write about what sorts of experiences in fact do contain good and bad at the same time, and of course the obvious thing is war. So my first little bit in italics starts off ‘You know how love flourishes in time of war’. I’m not sure that’s quite true, but it’s quite a good line.

 

The only way you can really do these opposites as one – good and evil, happiness and unhappiness – is in art. I said, what I must do is to write these stories in which everything seems to be happy and everything seems to be miserable, and then what seems to be miserable turns out happy, and what seems to be happy turns out unhappy.

Q

The White Review

— With that book – if indeed one of the things that you are trying to say is that in relationships we never really fully know or understand the person we’re in a relationship with – I wondered if that’s how you actually felt? Perhaps we do actually understand them a great deal, but maybe there’s always this unknowable element, this impossible element. Was that what you were trying to say?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Yes, that’s a good way of putting it. One feels the positiveness about it while one’s approaching, while one’s in love with someone who is away from one. One feels everything would be perfect if one was with her. But then one is with her and things start to run down. When I was writing Impossible Object I didn’t even try to answer that one. I thought that was just what life was like. But Hopeful Monsters was an effort to say, yes, you come together and then you have to grow apart but then you have to grow together again, that’s the best you can do. So an impossible object becomes possible if you’re a hopeful monster.

Q

The White Review

— One of the two main characters in Hopeful Monsters is doing research that helps to create the bomb. What is your moral view of him as a character in the end? Do you think he does the right thing by engaging in this research?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— Yes, well I think the really important thing about him is that he first of all makes the bomb. He makes the bomb because he thinks it is only by having something so fearful hanging over us, something so appalling, that people will be encouraged to do good. The important thing about him is that after he’s made the bomb he comes back to London and he goes on a CND march. People go to him, ‘What the hell are you doing? First of all you make a bomb and then you say ban it?’ And he says, ‘Yes, the only way this bomb is verbal, it can be called good, is if you make it and ban it.’ That is not just a fanciful paradox, a stupid paradox with words, it’s what’s actually happening. I think the bomb is working. The existence of the hydrogen bomb is maintaining peace.

Q

The White Review

— I saw this novel to be about the competing ideologies of the age – communism, fascism, advances in science. I wondered how far the writing of the novel was related to your personal history. Was it the reputation of your father, or a response to that?

A

Nicholas Mosley

— My father influenced me enormously when I was very young, but then he went back into politics. By 1950 I could see his old fascist followers dragging him back. I had a sort of crisis of trying to influence him. I thought, what’s happening? All he’s done is he’s gone back into politics on the anti-black vote in North Kensington. I used to write to him saying, ‘Dear dad, what are you all doing? This is just the same as in the ’30s!’ He would write me back, very charmingly, saying, ‘Thanks very much for your most interesting letter, but you’re a novelist, you don’t really understand all the implications.’

 

So I thought that I would go and hear one of his speeches, and that if it was as awful as people said, as the papers said, then I would go and confront him. He was standing on top of a van with loudspeakers and an enormous crowd around him. He was such a brilliant orator; he always got an audience. For the first ten or fifteen minutes he was being very reasonable, then suddenly he would realise that the audience was getting awfully bored because that wasn’t what they’d come for. So he stood back from the microphone and off he went on one of his great perorations. He said, ‘My friends, I’ve heard stories about the West Indians in Notting Hill. I’ve heard stories about how they keep white teenage girls in their attics and in their basements, and how they feed each other on catfood!’ I thought, this is completely mad.

 

After I’d heard my father speak I rang up his office and said that I wanted to have an interview with him. They said, ‘Your father’s too busy, he hasn’t got any time to see you.’ So I said, ‘I’m coming round to your office and I’ll sit in the front until he will see me,’ and I did, and eventually I was told I could come in. He was there with my stepmother and a lawyer and his campaign manager. I said, ‘I want to tell you that I heard what you said, and all I can say is that you’re making exactly the same mistakes that ruined you in the 1930s with your anti-Semitism. To make this mistake once might just mean that you’re deluded and wicked, but to make the same mistake twice within twenty years means that you’re not only wicked but you’re also a lunatic.’ He just said, ‘I will never speak to you again.’ And he didn’t. The end of this story is, he didn’t. I didn’t see him for six or seven years.

 

He failed completely in North Kensington. He retired from politics and became ill and went and lived outside Paris in a beautiful house. It was then that he sent messages to me saying he would like to see me, so I went over. I was then married to Verity, so Verity and I went over to him quite often in the late 1970s, early ’80s. We’d talk and talk and talk like we used to do in the old days, in the days of the end of the war. The last time I ever saw him he banged on the table so that everyone would listen, and he said, ‘When I die, I want Nicholas to have all my papers so he can write about me.’ It was such an extraordinary thing because I had told him that he was a bloody lunatic. He came around. Good and bad sorted themselves out at just the right moment. This was only about a week before he died.

Q

The White Review

— I saw in a number of works this threat to the normal family unit, this unusual domestic set up in Impossible Object, in Accident, perhaps it might be threatened by adultery or deception. I wondered if this was something to do with your own experiences of family life?
A

Nicholas Mosley

— Yes, it certainly is. My own experience is that at certain moments it seems right to break the normally accepted rules of family life.

 

When I was at Oxford, before I had met my first wife Rosemary, I bumped into an extraordinary girl who was the most brilliant mathematician. There was something really strange about her, something terribly sad. I went to one of the Oxford balls and I danced with her. I said, ‘It would be so nice if we could meet again’, but she said, ‘I can’t meet you again because I’m so hopeless, I can’t do anything.’ I went to one of her friends and said, ‘What’s happened to this girl?’ When she was nine or ten, she, her mum and her father were in China when the Japanese War started. The Japanese came in and the father was shot just like that, but the girl and her mother were taken off to a prison camp. She spent four years there. This girl was now at Oxford, but ever since she’d been in the camp she couldn’t see any point in being alive at all, she just wanted to die.

 

When I was married to my first wife we had been living in north Wales, but we had two children and it became too difficult so we came down to Sussex. I had to stay at the farm up in Wales for a bit because I had to take care of the animals, and I used to come down to London on my way to Sussex. Once when I was staying on my own in London I thought that I would really like to know what’s happened to that extraordinary girl from Oxford who I hadn’t seen for about three years. So I rang up her friend who I was still in contact with, she gave me a number and I got through to this girl, the one who had been in this prison camp. I said to her, ‘Look, I just wondered what had happened to you, because that evening when we met at Oxford it was so extraordinary, I got so worried. I did care about your awful experience.’ I said, ‘Come and have dinner’, and she said ok.

 

At the end of dinner when I said, ‘I must go home now, I’ve got to start off very early in the morning to go down to Sussex’, she just said to me straight, ‘If you leave me now, I shall die.’ I said, ‘No you won’t’, and she said, ‘Yes I will’, and I said, ‘Oh.’ I knew her history and this one evening had gone on for about five or six hours, but I said ‘Look, I can’t go on seeing you because I’m married. I’ve got a wife and two children in Sussex and we’ve only been married for a year’, and she said, ‘Then I shall die.’

 

This was at the same time that I first met Father Raynes. I said, ‘What shall I do?’ and he just said, ‘Go to communion, take the sacraments and make your confession, and God will do the rest.’ So I went to a church in north London and I told this trained priest my confession. He said the usual stuff, but as I went out of the church and onto the steps, down to that street in north London, I seemed to have some absolute experience, a sort of visitation, and I knew that I should not just ring up this girl and say, ‘I can’t ever see you again’, nor should I say anything to my wife. I knew, as a result of my doing what Father Raynes told me, that I should try to do both, so I did see her again.

 

I would go up and see this girl once a week for a day or two days, but eventually I realized, it’s no good us sitting here and talking. If I’m really going to ‘save’ this girl, I’ve got to risk more than just talk. I’d been saying to myself, ‘I’ll talk to this girl but I won’t go to bed with her’, but I could feel her thinking, ‘He’s not risking anything, he just comes and talks, he won’t even go to bed with me.’ But then one fine day, one fine evening, I did go to bed with her and it all went ok, and then I said, ‘Now I’m going home.’

 

I suppose the point of my story was that when I stopped writing Hopeful Monsters, one did all this. One made one’s effort, and one left things to what happens. They keep on saying at the end, ‘What do you trust?’ And as both Max and Eleanor say, I trust whatever happens, happens.

 

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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Alex Kovacs was born in 1982. He has studied at the University of Edinburgh and at Goldsmiths, University of London. The Currency of Paper is his first novel.

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poetry

January 2016

Two New Poems

Elena Fanailova

TR. Eugene Ostashevsky

poetry

January 2016

(POEM FOR ZHADAN)   This (my) country will be the death of you Its military mathematics Its secret services...