Paul Murray is the author, most recently, of Skippy Dies, due in paperback later this month. He spoke by telephone with his editor, Faber and Faber publisher Mitzi Angel, about his next novel, reading Proust, and what stops boys from putting dental floss up their noses. Mitzi Angel: So I heard the big news about David Cameron's holiday reading. Paul Murray: Yes, my agent texted me at seven in the morning last week to say she'd heard David Cameron had brought Skippy Dies on holiday. The Daily Mail had the headline CAMERON BRINGS DARK TALE OF DRUGS AND PORN ON HOLIDAY, which was cool. Angel: A Dark Tale of Drugs and Porn! Maybe that's how we should have described the book in our catalog! Was Skippy the only book he took on holiday with him? Murray: He took Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore, which sounded to me like your classic aspirational holiday read that never makes it out of the suitcase. But I don't know how much of Skippy he read, either, because a day or two later the protests and looting broke out and he had to cut short his holiday. Though I liked to imagine him sneakily reading it under the table at COBRA meetings.
[caption id="attachment_605" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="© Cormac Scully"][/caption] Paul Murray is the author of the novels Skippy Dies (shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Award) and An Evening of Long Goodbyes. Simultaneously the best and the worst gift I ever received was a Batman kite my father bought me when I was seven. We had gone to the local newsagent to buy the paper; I found the kite among the shelves of low-grade newsagent-type toys—bubble mix, plastic dinosaurs, translucent guns that sparked inside when you pulled the trigger. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen: Batman in his opaque, implacable DC Comics incarnation (this was still a few years before the first Tim Burton movie) on an appropriately bat-shaped canvas.