LEE CHILD’S FINAL WORD – SEPTEMBER 2015

LEE CHILD’S FINAL WORD – SEPTEMBER 2015

‘It [MAKE ME] came out good. I keep wondering – was there a cause and effect?’
‘You mean, with having me around keeping an eye on you.’
‘Did it make a difference?’
‘Well, the only couple of times I suggested anything you went in the opposite direction. Vince is a bit like that.’
‘Vince?’
‘Vince the dog. Mr Vince.’ He was Joel’s dog, I took him to the dog park when Joel was out of town. ‘You know, perverse, stubborn.’
‘You probably stopped me goofing off all the time.’
‘There’s that last sentence, for example. Look at it.’ I flipped open the last page.
He had just given me a copy of Make Me. The book itself, the hardcover, freshly minted, was a thing of beauty. Glossy. Acid-free paper. Real cuts in the cover. I was a bit choked up, to be honest. He had inscribed it, ‘Andy, thanks for a fun year.’
Obviously I was going to have to be cooler and more objective and more detached than ever if this stood any chance of coming out right, whatever this was. ‘It’s 67 words long! I’d been concentrating on the 4-worders. So I’m guessing you did that deliberately, just to show you could do Proust if you felt like it.’
‘It felt right, at the time. Wanted to end with a flourish.’
‘Needle. Final word. My first thought was: something sadistic. But there are all sort of positive connotations. It has a point. Old record player.  Sewing – I think Georges Perec’s old crew, Oulipo, were into that – the ‘Ouvroir de la littérature potentielle’. And then, a camel through the eye of. Rich man? miracle? transcendence?’
‘It’s one fucking word.’
‘It’s polysemic.’
‘It’s a wonder you didn’t completely screw me up, now I think of it.’