I left that night in the knowledge that my time with him, over snowy nights and long crazy afternoons of denial, had brought me back to first position, as a writer. He was a character. It didn’t matter to me now whether he continued the work he’d started or stayed true to what he said. He was a figure out of Dostoevsky, a figure out of James Hogg or John Banville, and a figure most vitally out of me. I was now making him into a figment of my imagination and that was perhaps all he could ever really be for me. Sitting in that prison of his own peculiar making, Julian was by then a cipher, a person whose significance can scarcely be grasped by himself, though he is forced to live with it.
I’d never been with a person who had such a good cause and such a poor ear, nor had I met a head of an organisation with such an unending capacity to worry about his enemies and to yawn in one’s face.