“I’d sort of known it was the day,” Doerr said on the phone to the Guardian on Tuesday. But he was trying not to think about it, or expect the win. He had enough to be grateful for: even before the prize was announced he was already enjoying the greatest success of his career with All the Light We Cannot See.
The book has spent most of the last year on the New York Times bestseller list, and Doerr tells me now his readings are stuffed with a much wider variety of people than he used to draw. Doerr is the kind of writer who when asked about his influences readily cites Anne Carson and Cormac McCarthy. “Sometimes my readers ask me what else they should read,” he told me, “and I recommend Sebald.” But he’s never sure if the sort of reader this new book has attracted will enjoy Sebald as much as he does.