Peter Salmon Interview

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coffee_story.jpg   Peter Salmon is an Australian writer now living in England, and his first novel, The Coffee Story, will be released later this week. The publishers, Hachette, describe it as "A wild, caffeine-fuelled deathbed confession of love and betrayal that spans four continents." The author was interviewed for Readings bookshop by Kabita Dhara.

Coffee, its production and consumption, obviously plays a major role in your novel. There are beautifully evocative passages describing the roasting and grinding and preparation of the perfect cup of coffee, and some of your characters have an encyclopaedic knowledge of coffee. Where did your particular interest in coffee come from? And how do you brew your perfect cup?

Legend has it my first words were 'cup coff' so it was obviously there pretty early. And working at the wonderful Readings in Lygon Street cemented the love. It really is the best drink in the world. As for the perfect cup, the best coffee I've ever had was the coffee I had in Harar recently - a superb coffee is taken for granted, and any family that beckons you to join them will always have a glorious cup for you. I hate tea, by the way. Just so you know.

You have a very distinctive style. Which books and writers do you think have influenced you stylistically? And which books and writers do you look to for inspiration?

As I said, I'm not a lover of the 'well-crafted novel' - I like a book that is not afraid to digress, to obfuscate, and do the odd thing that annoys the reader. I really like the strange ... Books like Memoirs of My Mental Illness by Judge Schreber, and The Robber by Robert Walser (best opening lines ever - 'Edith loves him. More on this later.'). Plus Proust and Henry James, both of whom are far stranger than they are given credit for. But I guess if there is one book that informs The Coffee Story more than any other, it's The Book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow - frankly, I owe him most of the royalties. Don't tell him though. Please.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 4, 2011 7:47 AM.

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