Sharing the loathe

July 14, 2008

Oh look! It’s a piece in the Times of London about what books writers hate. Super fun, always. Oh wait, LOOK what’s on it:

Helen Hawkins, Culture editor

Atonement by Ian McEwan The only book that has ever moved me to hurl it across the room is McEwan’s 2001 bestseller. I was doing fine – wading through the minutely detailed atmospherics, ducking the gobbets of Fine Writing that careened off each page, soldiering on through the epic nightmare of Dunkirk – until about p330, where it was revealed that the whole damn effort I had put myself through had now to be reevaluated retrospectively, as the book was Not What It Seemed. Then, 50 pages later, came the final paragraphs, where I was informed I had to decide how to end the plot myself. My weary brain protested that McEwan had bottled it. He was effectively handing over a key responsibility of the novelist – the ultimate fate of his imaginary creations – to the unsuspecting reader. I thought John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman had rendered the double-ending gimmick redundant 30 years earlier.

My literary soul twin, at last discovered across the Atlantic, ducking gobbets of Fine Writing.

And while I’m hating, I just want to point out that either this is some kind of unfunny joke or it’s a compelling reason to never, ever read a line of poetry published in the New Yorker again (not that you didn’t already have a sneaking suspicion that was the case).

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One Response to “Sharing the loathe”

  1. JG Says:

    We’re triplets. I was thinking, Oh, it’s like I wrote this review.

    And no wonder someone keeps telling us we can get into the NY—if that crap can, of course we can, too. I propose getting drunk, striking your keyboard with your forehead, and sending the results as a submission.


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