“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

We’ll Always Have Paris

Maybe we’re emotionally retarded degenerates, but we’re at a loss to understand why Eoin McNamee’s latest, 12:33: A Parisian Summer, is encountering such resistance in the mainstream press. It’s nothing to do with the quality of the writing, y’see; could it be because McNamee has targeted an establishment sacred cow? Quoth Amanda Brown in a Sunday Trib preamble to a McNamee interview:
“I can’t say I enjoyed reading 12:23: Paris: 31st August 1997, but then I was prejudiced against it before I began. A fictionalised story based on the real life events of that famous car crash in which Diana Spencer lost her life struck me as a bit tasteless, even if it has been 10 years since it happened.”
Meanwhile, over at the Sunday Times, John Dugdale was beating a remarkably similar dead horse:
“12:23 is strong on atmosphere and the seedy, humdrum reality of bottom-feeder spying. It seems indecently early, however, to be stitching its central event into fiction (most recent “faction” novels are set at least 25 years ago); and while reliance on a conspiracy theory for the portrayal of the crash is handy for shaping a thriller plot, it does little for the novel’s credibility.”
Hmmmm, smells like a conspiracy to us. Two questions, folks: One, it was okay for the Princess of Wails to spin the entire world a fiction while she was alive, but no one is allowed write about her now she’s dead, or at least not for 25 years after the event – is that correct? Two, how come Elton John didn’t get this kind of grief?

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