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Beloved fantasy writer Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest novel, Children of Earth and Sky, is available now from New American Library.
What was the first book you fell in love with?
It was called The Silver Man. I was six or seven years old and checked it out of the library over and over that winter! It was a crossing worlds and time fantasy, with a mammoth and a witch and an intrepid Canadian kid. I think, looking back, I’d had no idea books could do that! Also, the two-page, black-and-white illustration of the witch scared the wits out of me, first time I turned the page (at night) and saw it. I can still see that picture.
Name a classic you feel guilty about never having read?
Proust. I have it. I will read it. I haven’t. I hang my head.
What’s the book you reread the most?
I’ll cheat a bit and say the poetry of Yeats or George Seferis. I go back to a lot of poets. When I was young I reread Tolkien, Dorothy Dunnett, Mary Renault, often, but it has been awhile.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus. I don’t write like that, but my admiration for the craft and intelligence, the sentence by sentence insight and brilliance is extreme.
What’s the new book you’re most looking forward to?
A tie right now. Hilary Mantel’s conclusion of her Cromwell books, and whatever Ferrante gives us next. If my beloved Penelope Fitzgerald was alive, she’d top this list. A sorrow, that we’ll have no more from her.