Stuart Evers's books of the year, and other things
Stuart Evers is the author of the highly acclaimed novel If This Is Home. It's about Mark Wilkinson, a man who has three names. He left his own behind in the rainy north of England. American immigration knows him as Joe Novak. And at the Valhalla, the mysterious complex where he sells lofty ambition and dark desires, he goes by Mr Jones.
What is your favourite book of the year?
Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family. Utterly engrossing, depressing and yet life affirming. It is also the only book I know that devotes hundreds of pages to cleaning up a house. It’s better than that sounds, though.
What is your favourite Picador book ever?
Underworld, Don Delillo. Without doubt one of the best novels ever written. Few novels need to be as long as they are: Underworld could be twice as long and still not feel overstretched.
What is the book that was most neglected (fairly or unfairly)?
Niven Govinden’s Black Bread White Beer. Like James Salter, William Maxwell or John Cheever, Niven Govinden has a subtle, strange and wholly compelling way of getting to the nerve of his characters. A short novel, it nonetheless resonates long after reading. It came out as an ebook in the UK, however, and hasn’t had the review coverage it deserves.
What is the book that was most over-rated (fairly or unfairly)?
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Power. I just couldn’t see what everyone else (and I mean everyone) saw in it. I’ve read it twice and have to just accept that it is one of those books that I just don’t get.
What are you looking forward to reading most next year?
New novels by Jim Crace, James Salter and Evie Wyld.
2012: everything else
What was your favourite cultural event of the year?
William Klein & Daido Moriyami exhibition at the Tate Modern. I’ve been about five times. Truly astonishing photography.
What is your most powerful memory of the year?
What is your greatest disappointment of the year?
What is your resolution for 2013?
To continue not smoking
What is your favourite blog or who is your favourite tweeter?
I like lots of blogs/tweeters. My current favourite, however, is a tumblr of illustrations of all the murderers from Columbo.
What was the best movie?
I don’t go to the cinema that often, to be honest. The best film I saw all year was Vertigo, which counts as I’ve never seen it before.
What was the best song/album?
Dan Penn’s Fame Recordings. Country Soul at its finest.
Give us one Prediction for 2013?
That people will stop saying the world is going to end in 2012.
Becoming and being a writer
What would you be if you weren’t a writer?
What I am now, minus the writing: someone with a job.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Bumper Book of Football Stories
What is the book you recommend most?
Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec or Jernigan by David Gates. Both utterly essential.
What is your favourite poem?
The Day Lady Died, Frank O’Hara
Where do you write?
Wherever I can; at the moment in my study.
Can you give one piece of advice to people wanting to become a writer?
Read. Write. Repeat.
Do you read on paper or ebook?
Paper if I have a choice.
One book that changed your life?
The New York Trilogy, Paul Auster. It showed me something I hadn’t seen before; blending theory, philosophy and genre fiction in one thoroughly convincing whole. I started it in a bar in Liverpool and didn’t leave until I’d finished.
One book you have read more than once?
Keep The Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell. Between the ages of 14 and 18 I suspect I read it three times a year.
Your worst ever job?
Making ribbons on my own on a 12-hour night shift during Euro 1996. The nightwatchman had to call me every hour on the hour to check I was still alive.
What gives you nightmares?