Literary Birthday – 14 January – Edward St. Aubyn


Happy Birthday, Edward St. Aubyn, born 14 January 1960

Edward St Aubyn: 10 Quotes

  1. It seems people spend the majority of their lives believing they’re dying, with the only consolation being that at one point they get to be right.
  2. In the absence of God, we have the omniscience of gossip to keep us preoccupied with who knows what.
  3. Just as a novelist may sometimes wonder why he invents characters who do not exist and makes them do things which do not matter, so a philosopher may wonder why he invents cases that cannot occur in order to determine what must be the case.
  4. It was hard to know what grown-ups meant when they said things. One day he had worked out a way of guessing what they were going to do: no meant no, maybe meant perhaps, yes meant maybe and perhaps meant no, but the system did not work, and he decided that maybe everything meant perhaps.
  5. Surely: the adverb of a man without an argument.
  6. After I’ve written a novel, I feel a little bit clearer and freer than I did before, but while I’m writing it, it’s horrible, it’s intensely upsetting. But for some reason I feel obliged to go on doing it. It’s the only thing I can do.
  7. You transform experience into, for want of a better word, art. I’m interested in structure and character. Otherwise it would be very boring for everyone else.
  8. Mind you, I don’t know why people get so fixated on happiness, which always eludes them, when there are so many other invigorating experiences available, like rage, jealousy, disgust, and so forth.
  9. An editor sleeping with his writer was not as bad as a psychoanalyst sleeping with his patient, or even a professor sleeping with an undergraduate, let alone a president with an intern.
  10. I see the author as the person who has written; the writer, the one involved in the process of writing. And they’re not necessarily friends. The writer is the one I want to reinforce; the author would just feed on the reviews – so I’m in favour of starving him.

Edward St. Aubyn is a British author. He wrote The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother’s Milk. Mother’s Milk was short-listed for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, won the 2007 Prix Femina Etranger, and won the 2007 South Bank Show award on literature.

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by Amanda Patterson

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