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Guy Gavriel Kay reads in his library at his home in Toronto. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen / The Globe and Mail)
Guy Gavriel Kay reads in his library at his home in Toronto. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen / The Globe and Mail)

My books, My Place

Guy Gavriel Kay's favourite room in the world Add to ...

I don't read (or write) in cafés. I meet friends in cafés. I do read in bed, and in the bath (family newspaper, discerning readers: bad photo idea). But truth is, I'm one of those who prefers his lair, which is my library/office and an old cracked-leather recliner up against bookcases and beside a big painting I love, by Andy Patton. This is my favourite room in the world, with the possible exception of the one in the Musée de Cluny in Paris where they keep the Unicorn Tapestries.

When I am reading for research and making notes, I use a cleverly designed curved lap-desk and I sit up dutifully, mindful of ergonomics and suchlike concepts. When reading for pleasure, I take advantage of the recline in recliner. Single malt is allowed after 5 or so. Coffee before 3. Visitors get a more handsome, slightly less comfortable chair. I ruefully admit that if the cat is asleep in my chair - which she regards as hers, of course - I tend to leave her there and take the other one.

I just did a reread of Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. As a result, I am now reading Everybody was So Young, Amanda Vaill's biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy, who were (in part) the inspiration for Fitzgerald's Dick and Nicole Diver. I don't know a writer who doesn't feel some sense of glamour and magic and a complex, wistful sadness emanating from the expats of the twenties in France. Some of the sadness, of course, is that we weren't there.

I also just finished a tremendous new novel: A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winner. I seem to have sold her a score of books, e-mailing friends about it. Maybe a few more now. She deserves them.

Guy Gavriel Kay's most recent novel is Under Heaven.

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