Colm Toibin:

“Solitude is good in the evening,” he says. “Dublin is a quiet city when you get to a certain age, when your friends settle down and have kids. Nothing much happens here. There are few book launches and if you don’t have a pub where you go to, which I don’t, then it can be quiet. If I scream no one would hear me.”

I told my wife last night that I don’t know what’s happening to me. I used to be the kind of guy who was up for anything, who sought the stimulation of other people’s company, of the busy world. Now I find nothing makes me happier than being quiet and at home, with a book. I don’t say that in a sentimental way. I really mean it. I used to be the sort of person who would go to parties and draw energy from them. Now they exhaust me. I don’t know why this is. I imagine people think of me as anti-social sometimes, but really, it’s nothing personal. I can imagine myself becoming a recluse, against my own convictions. Is it a middle-aged thing, this tide toward withdrawal and contemplation?