It is “moving towards the place where I think the end will be. I’ll be so glad to reach it so I can cut my hair.” He has promised not to do so until the book is done. “When I cut my ponytail off I shall put it in a zip-lock bag and give it to the Bodleian,” he says with a smile. In a tone of mock self-importance, he adds: “Present it to the nation.”
“The book is getting longer. But it is filling up with things that are all germane to what the story is becoming. Some of the themes I turned up in the course of His Dark Materials are going to be central to it.” One of these is to do with William Blake’s ideas about how we see things, as expressed in a little poem he wrote in a letter to a friend. Pullman wants to dramatise Blake’s idea that we should have twofold vision – and see with feeling and understanding, rather than a reductionist single vision, which is interested only in facts.
Tantalizing tease from Philip Pullman about The Book of Dust in this interview mostly about his terrific-sounding graphic novel, The Adventures of John Blake, out in the UK in May 2017.