In Worst. Person. Ever. rotten-to-the-core Raymond Gunt, an unemployed cameraman, travels from West London to the set of a reality TV show in the Pacific, offending nearly every single person whose path he crosses.
Raymond Gunt, your first-person narrator, is a hilarious monster who easily earns the novel’s title. Was it ever uncomfortable getting into his head?
I’m not quite sure where Raymond came from. He’s truly appalling. He appalls me as much as anyone. Characters are strange that way. I always wonder about Agatha Christie and all those murderers she invented. What was going on there?
Raymond grows more depraved with every page. Was his likeability ever a concern?
What makes Raymond so likeable is the difference between the way he sees himself and the way everyone else sees him. At one point in the novel, Gunt says, “Jason Bourne thinks he’s so cool just because he has a chin.”
What prompted your decision to make Raymond English?
Raymond could only be English. Americans are terrible swearers. The English, on the other hand, have a bountiful supply of bile. Nobody can swear like them, not even Australians.
Pop culture features prominently in this novel, as it does in much of your previous work. Why is it such fertile ground for you?
I’m more in the art world than the book world. In the art world, pop culture is as valid a source of ideas and inspiration as any other source. Pop culture is a good way of time coding work, too. Rather than dating a book, setting it in the extreme present tense gives it a nice shelf life. I look at most of the writers I love and I can tell [exactly when their books] were written: Kurt Vonnegut, John O’Hara, Joan Didion, Evelyn Waugh.