“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.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful-ish # 221: Michael Collins

Never blummin’ happy, those writers. A couple of weeks back we had Claire Kilroy pouting about TENDERWIRE being marketed as a (heaven forfend) thriller, a sulk only slightly ameliorated by the fact that the delectable Ms Kilroy has the most potent pout since Scarlett realised Rhett didn’t give a damn. Now the devastating mean ‘n’ moody Michael Collins (right) is moaning, via the New Zealand Herald, that his most recent release is being touted as a murder mystery, to wit:
Which is why it rankles with the US-based author that his eighth and most challenging novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF ROBERT E. PENDLETON, was marketed in the US as a crime novel titled DEATH OF A WRITER. “To position it that way, you run into readers who are expecting a standard murder mystery,” says Collins. Even among critics, he laments, “there was a measuring of it against how a regular crime novel would play itself out. There were numerous levels of different issues in the novel, but they were the ones least addressed.”
Fair enough, sir. But really, if you’re going to devote a significant chunk of your story to a murder mystery, and reap the narrative benefits such a plot-strand offers, then it’s a little disingenuous to protest when readers tend to focus on it. Plus, in the pouting stakes, you’re more Rhett than Scarlett. We humbly suggest the stoical mean ‘n’ moody approach might be more beneficial in the long run …

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