When, in the mid 1990s, I started writing my second novel, Great Western Highway (Capital, Volume One, Part Two), I knew I wanted to deal with two things: love and capitalism. Neither is easy to write about, the first because it has been written about so much, the second because 'capitalism' is such a polarising term, and one that belongs more to economics and politics than literature. But I persevered, mainly because I had no choice. Most writers don't choose what they want to write about: it chooses them. What starts as an unconscious preoccupation soon becomes a full-blown obsession, and once it has reached that stage you know you've got something strong enough to see you through the marathon that is the writing of a novel. Anything less compulsive can't be taken seriously. It simply won't go the distance, .and, even worse, it won't be artistically true.