I am often asked which books and writers have influenced me most.
OK, not often. Sometimes. Perhaps not even sometimes.
But if I were ever to be asked this question, the answer would be, without doubt, the Russian authors I read so avidly in my teenage years, and who remain still so central to my literary tastes and perceptions. Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov … I gobbled them all up.
So now, I drink a lot of vodka, and talk incessantly about God and the immortality of the soul. And if that ain’t influence, I don’t know what is.