"The narrator of Afterlife looks back to the summer of 1976, when the course of his life was decided by a violent tragedy, prefigured here in the destruction of a manuscript. He's temperamentally unable to separate the enduring sense of personal loss from his continuing anxieties about the meaning and authority of literature. Perhaps his pessimism will prove to be well founded. There can be few writers who do not at some level suspect that it is entirely possible that all the literature they most value will be discarded in a process of cultural change so encompassing that its exponents and opponents alike can have only a limited grasp of its possible consequences. The automatic remote erasure of electronic texts of Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 undertaken recently by Amazon/Kindle (legally and for legal reasons) - to the fury of readers who thought they'd bought the material in question - can't help but seem richly, if parodically, suggestive of what may await us."
Sean O'Brien: if only you had enthused me as much with your lecture on William Blake! You're a devil of a poet though - I wonder what your novel's like?