sophieint3Q. From having many different narrators, the story becomes quite tangled in what is the truth and what isn’t. Would you say the idea of truth is important within the book?

A. Yes, in that hopefully the book encourages the reader to be aware of the importance of subjectivity in the creation of what for convenience’s sake we have to call the truth. I am currently reading for my PhD in English Literature at the University of York, and I like to think that my novel reflects what I see as the mission statement of literary studies – the imperative to read texts critically. That’s more important to me than identifying a particular ‘truth’ that will solve the book like a riddle.

Q. There is a strong theme of Catholicism within the book. Is this drawn upon personal experience? Are you catholic yourself?

A. I was raised as a Roman Catholic – the school, the church, the community, all that kind of thing – but I lapsed very strongly and quite uncomplicatedly when I was about fifteen or sixteen. I still retain a strong interest in Catholicism as a living institution, in an almost anthropological way, but there is no doubt in my mind that they – by which I mean the official line propagated by the Vatican – have almost everything completely and utterly wrong. About as wrong as it is possible to be. Which isn’t to say, oddly, that there aren’t some wonderful Catholics, and that faith can’t have some deeply beneficial consequences. That’s one of the exasperating paradoxes of organised religion, and something that the book explores.

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