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'Living in a novel for ages'

2 May 2019

‘I knew it had to be a long book. That was partly because I guess I was thinking that the one thing that the novel as an art form has over other art forms is time. I think I got this from those 19th century books I read when I was younger. One of the great pleasures I used to get was sort of living in a novel for ages. And I suspect that with a first novel you are unconscious of your influences, so what I grew up reading is still kind of in me. I may not have been reading 19th century books while I was writing, but there might have been some unconscious influence. Maybe I've written something slightly old-fashioned in the sense that it's a great sprawling thing with tons of characters.'

Isabella Hammad, whose highly-praised nearly 600 page first novel The Parisian was published in April.