When, a few weeks ago, I accepted the very kind invitation to appear as a “guest author” at a local book group which was intending to read The Cloths of Heaven, I thought it only right to warn them that I would just have had my left leg amputated and might not be feeling my very best. That way, I reckoned, only the most hard-hearted reader would be brave enough to say negative things about the novel. In the event, it appeared that all the (extremely pleasant and discerning) members had genuinely liked my book and there were some really interesting and insightful questions and comments. I was particularly delighted that one reader had said she’d started reading the book on a Saturday morning and refused to get out of bed until she’d finished it, so who needs a review in the London Review of Books? I returned to the care of Nurse Jackie and the rest of the healthcare team, tired but exhilarated by my brief foray into literary life.