The Office

The Guardian profiles poet/novelist Nick Laird.

I feel that I already know him. Not because I remember him – I always forget a pretty face – but because I have just finished his novel. The central character is a Northern Irish small-town boy who goes to England to work in a blue-chip law firm and falls in love with a beautiful, self-possessed black girl. Laird is a Northern Irish small-town boy who went to England to work in a blue-chip law firm and fell in love with a beautiful, self-possessed black girl. So, is Utterly Monkey autobiographical?

His head reels back and his face puckers. “No. No. No.” He doesn’t smile. “The novel is a novel. It is made up. It’s a work of fiction. And the girl in it isn’t Zadie. People think she is because she’s black. Can you imagine Zadie working in an office? She wouldn’t do that.”

I loved the profile. It made my day. Because I feel somewhat vindicated now that I know that Zadie Smith wouldn’t have worked in an office.

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