Wednesday, January 30, 2013
What was the experience of writing the book like? How did you find immersing yourself in Hitchens' oeuvre?
Well, I got bloody sick of reading Christopher Hitchens. He was at his best a very fine writer, and a real pleasure to read. But he was not always at his best, to put it mildly. In fact, when you traverse his oeuvre you begin to see how repetitive and predictable he could be, as well as how contradictory. The same one-liners stop being funny; the inexplicable contradictions start to be frustrating.
Perhaps as interesting as Hitchens's writings was talking to his old comrades, colleagues and friends. I wanted to speak to a lot more people, but I think I got enough gossip to stop this from being just a politically correct attack: it is a politically correct attack with some real dirt in it. There was one point in writing this where I thought I would need to do a lot of detective work, to fill in biographical blanks. But that was distracting me from the purpose, which was a political analysis of Hitchens and his writing. As a result, I left some promising seams un-mined: there is plenty left for a would-be biographer to do.