an imaginary review (5)

This novelist’s characters are like himself. They speak in clever & rounded sentences. They have caught life in a linguistic net, & found some odd fish there, & now they are going to tell you about it: not really at length, but in the end at more length than you suspected in the beginning.

The impression of wisdom radiates from the feeblest of their jokes. You look covertly at your watch even as you think, “How delightful!”

It isn’t possible at this distance–the distance between writer & reader–to tell how much of the novel is “biographical”. If some of it is, there’s nothing we can do about it; if none of it is, well that’s a joke some decades old by now, & perhaps a little less joyful than it seemed in 1980. What is possible to say is that the acknowledgements page, written in the same tone as the book itself, is a very self-indulgent piece of work.

A butterfly landed on page 52 while I was reading it in my garden. From that single event I learned nothing about the book, or reading, or writing, or anything at all.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “an imaginary review (5)

  1. I’d like to meet all your imaginary novelists in person. This one sounds really truly awful. Is he like that in the pub, too? Or perhaps it’s a she.

  2. Krishna

    Is this an author or *all* authors?

    Is the review by a critic or *all* critics?

  3. Martin

    This must be the imaginary Frederic Raphael. Only the promised arrival of that butterfly (perhaps it dreamt up the whole imaginary review, too, the book and its author? ) could persuade me to read 52pp of his work.

  4. Steve B Massey

    Big Deal.
    Really.
    No not really really.