Debut author Rebecca Makkai answers our questions

Brian Donaldson interviews the author of The Borrower

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Debut author Rebecca Makkai answers our questions

Our debut author Q&As continue with Rebecca Makkai, whose first book is about an odd couple embarking on an improvised road trip

Give us five words to describe The Borrower.
Librarian, boy, kidnap each other.

Name one author who should be more famous than they are now.
Novelist and poet David Huddle is a quiet but fabulous writer, and he does adolescent longing better than anyone I know.

What was the first book you read?
I taught myself to read when I was three by comparing the letters in my Mother Goose book with the rhymes I had memorised.

Which book makes you cry?
I’ve only cried at one book, but I’m too embarrassed to tell you which. It wasn’t terribly intellectual. I will admit, though, to crying when I’ve read books aloud to my elementary class. We read a biography of Gandhi once, and it was very difficult to read the part where Gandhi was killed, because they were waiting for a happy ending.

Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
Sometimes I wish I could go back through time to meet Proust, just so I could give him my asthma inhaler. The poor guy.

What plans do you have for book number two?
I’m about 100 pages in. It’s tentatively called The Happensack, the story of a haunted family and a haunted house, told in reverse. The first section is set in 1999, the second in 1955, and the third in 1929, with an epilogue in 1900. It’s set on the north shore of Chicago, where I live, and I’m absolutely in love with the whole thing right now.

The Borrower is published by William Heinemann on Thu 7 Jul.

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