TM: I've noticed in The Following Story, Fernando Pessoa reappears, as he does in a number of your books. What is the attraction that people feel in general to Pessoa, and what do you yourself feel?
CN: Well, he did something that many of us would like to do, only, if we were to do it now, it would be like an imitation: to invent all the writers within the writer that you already yourself are. That is, to divide your personality and create fictional people who write real books. I believe this is the most fictional thing you can do. Remember that famous line by Marianne Moore: "Real gardens with imaginary . . ." No. "Imaginary gardens with real toads in them." I mean to have imaginary poets that write real poems. Fantastic. No passports, but they produce books.
TM: And the wonderful sadness of The Book of Disquiet, an endless reiteration of sadness and every possible approach to it.
CN: He drank himself to death. But he left twenty-seven thousand pages of unpublished manuscript. Incredible.
From an interview with Cees Nooteboom