John Banville: I try to have a sense of immediacy.  It seems to me that the only reason to make a work of art is to try to make the reader or the listener or the viewer feel, taste, hear, smell the world as it is.  But of course, we don’t do it as it is.  A novel is nothing like the world and nothing like life, but it produces a wonderful simulacrum of it.  A strangely compelling parallel version of the world that people think is real.  I wrote a book once about Johannes Kepler, the great astronomer who lived in the 1600s.  And people said to me how well I’d caught the period.  But I was too polite to say to them, “How do you know?” But they were giving me a wonderful compliment.  They were saying, “You created something here that looks and sounds and smells to me what I imagine the 1600s were like.”  So that’s all we can do is — it’s a kind of glorified transcendental lying.  That’s what fiction is.