There aren't many great passages written about food, but I love one by George Millar, who worked for the SOE in the second world war and wrote a book called 'Horned Pigeon.' He had been on the run and hadn't eaten for a week, and his description of the cheese fondue he smells in the peasant kitchen of a house in eastern France is unbelievable.
Life can be lived at a remove. You trade in futures, and then you trade in derivatives of futures. Banks make more money trading derivatives than they do trading actual commodities.
If you have only one life, you can't altogether ignore the question: are you enjoying it?
My ideal relationship with the reader is that at certain points they will have said, 'I'm finding this quite tough, but I'm going to hang in there,' then at the end they will say, 'Oh God, I'm glad I hung on, it was so worth it.'
A romantic is someone who believes that something is valuable even if it doesn't last. And a non-romantic is someone who says that if something doesn't endure, or can't be logically proved and pinned down, it's worthless.
I think closeness to death would be pretty exhilarating in a way, and friendship, yeh, and selflessness, a kind of selflessness, a sense of your own worthlessness, I think, is pretty exhilarating.
What I like in novels that I read and enjoy is interplay of theme: the mystery of how we seem to be so separate as human beings.
If I hadn't read all of Jane Austen and DH Lawrence, Tolstoy and Proust, as well as the more fun stuff, I wouldn't know how to break bad news, how to sympathise, how to be a friend or a lover, because I wouldn't have any idea what was going on in anybody else's mind.
I am a romantic, in a literary way, by which I mean the Romantic poets, who thought just because a sensation is fleeting doesn't mean it isn't valuable. If the only criterion of value is whether something lasts, then the whole of human life is a waste of time.
I believe that love between people is the greatest life-giving force in the world. It's intensely frustrating and inevitably makes a fool of you, but you can't stop going back to it, and it's pretty much the defining experience of a human being.
In the 1970s, British food was beginning to get good, whereas in France it was just starting its long, sad decline. My most memorable meals, however, have been in Italy.
I believe your stomach tells you what it wants, and I don't think mine asks for anything that unhealthy. I'm a trained health machine.
If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be rhubarb fool, which I make with ginger and a hint of elderflower cordial.
The nicest characters in 'A Week in December' are, in fact, Muslims - and their religious devotion is one of the things that defines them.
There's no such thing as identity: it's something we have to believe in to make life more tolerable.
Bond doesn't have an inner life. There would be moments when I'd think, 'We need to gather our thoughts here and have a breather,' where in another novel you'd slow the pace, have some description and see what Bond feels about this. But Bond doesn't reflect. All you can do is move on to the next bomb or shark or car.
I don't know how you can understand other people or yourself if you haven't read a lot of books. I just don't think you're equipped to deal with the demands and decisions of life, particularly in your dealings with other people.
I think my generation has had an unbelievably easy time profiting from the world that was made for us by our parents and grandparents. We are essentially a rather frivolous generation. The Blair government was my generation's shot at power. It had some good things, but it had some flaws.
I've found contemporary Britain difficult to write about because it seems to me to have lacked gravity or grandeur. This is some cultural problem which I don't really understand. It simply isn't the same in the United States.
It's possible there are no two books in publishing history more dissimilar than 'Human Traces' and 'Devil May Care.' And that was really the attraction of it.