"Years ago, back when I was just starting to write Sandman, I was interviewed, and in the interview I was asked to name some of my favourite authors. I listed happily and with enthusiasm. Several weeks later, when the interview had been printed, a fan letter arrived at DC Comics for me, and was forwarded to me. It was from three young men who wanted to know how I could possibly have listed Kipling as a favourite author, given that I was a trendy young man and Kipling was, I was informed, a fascist and a racist and a generally evil person.
It was obvious from the letter that they had never actually read any Kipling. More to the point, they had been told not to.
I doubt I am the only person who writes replies to letters in his head he never sends. In my head I wrote many pages in reply, and then I never wrote it down or sent it.
In truth, Kipling's politics are not mine. But then, it would be a poor sort of world if one were only able to read authors who expressed points of view that one agreed with entirely. It would be a bland sort of world if we could not spend time with people who thought differently, and who saw the world from a different place. Kipling was many things that I am not, and I like that in my authors. And besides, Kipling is an astonishing writer, and was arguably at his best in the short story form.
I wanted to explain to my correspondents why 'The Gardener" had affected me so deeply, as a reader and as a writer - it's a story I read once, believing every word, all the way to the end, where I understood the encounter the woman had had, then started again at the beginning, understanding now the tone of voice and what I was being told. It was a tour de force. It's a story about loss, and lies, and what it means to be human and to have secrets, and it can and does and should break your heart."
"Садовника" и я очень люблю; и в самом деле, поразительно, до чего британцы - насколько мне известно - стесняются Киплинга. Даже в Вестминстерском аббатстве, где он похоронен. его не упоминают (как и много кого, от Вильгельма Оранского - его-то за что? - до Сесила Родса, друга Киплинга). Постколониальная травма, зашедшая слишком далеко.