Good Reading : May 2009
cover story gothic goddess SARAH WATERS admits to being a TV junkie, a nerd and a ’fraidy cat, all assets when it comes to writing a brilliantly spooky haunted- house story, as she tells SARAH MINNS. If this seems like a surprising statement for an award-winning, ‘literary’ author to make, allow her to explain. ‘I think a lot of the pleasure that people G would traditionally have got, particularly from 19th-century, Dickensian storytelling – long, long novels about society, about what makes society tick – are now being provided by TV. This isn’t an original thing to say but it really seems to be true,’ she says. At the moment she’s enthralled by the American police drama The Wire. She even confesses that, at home with her partner, she’s apt to imitate the accent and vernacular of the Baltimore police and criminals of the show. But she doesn’t just enjoy highbrow TV, she also got into Heroes and, ‘I absolutely adore Lost, did you ever watch Lost? ‘It seems to me to be a very gothic sort of program,’ she says, ‘because it’s all about anxieties and what’s going to come at you next … it’s a completely destabilising narrative. I think it’s very “of our time” – you know, everybody’s a bit nervous in the world at the moment,’ she says, with a chuckle. 12 goodreading i MAY 2009 ood television, according to Sarah Waters, can tell you a lot about good storytelling.