“I’m still angry about what has been done to this country” – Francis Spufford is interviewed in The Guardian

Francis Spufford kills off all the protagonists of his new novel in the first chapter. “I want the reader to be looking at life as you do when you are aware that the alternative is death,” he explains of Light Perpetual, the follow-up to his award-winning debut, Golden Hill. “I want life and being in time to be less taken for granted than it usually is when we are making our way through the middle, when it is easier to forget that we didn’t exist once and that we won’t exist again later,” he continues cheerfully. “I wanted it to be a picture with death as the frame.”Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford review – both a requiem and a giving of new lifeRead more

For many years Spufford steadily worked away as one of the UK’s most respected nonfiction writers, with titles including I May Be Some Time, a cultural history of polar exploration; Backroom Boys, charting the overlooked achievements of British scientists; the “strangely noveloid” Red Plenty, about postwar Soviet economics; and Unapologetic, his lively apologia for religion and riposte to the “new atheism” of Richard Dawkins and co. If such an eclectic writer could be said to have a niche, it was to make nerdishness interesting. Then at 52 he published Golden Hill, a glittering take on the 18th-century novel, set in New York, which was the surprise hit of 2016, winning him a Costa first novel award and an enthusiastic new readership. Now Light Perpetual, which, after that explosive beginning, follows the lives (had they lived) of five Londoners from the second world war to 2009, looks set to be one of the stand-out novels of this year.

Click here to read the full interview.