Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Corn On The Cobblers

Occasional CAP lurker Eimear gets in touch to bring us up to speed on the Joan Brady (not pictured, right) story, the poignant tale of the serious novelist who received an out-of-court settlement of £115,000 from a cobbler near her Totnes home on the basis that the fumes from the solvents used at the factory had caused her ‘physical distress and mental distraction’. Mark Lawson of The Guardian takes up the tale, to wit:
“One example given of her problems – and here we come to the reason that Brady should probably not walk down any dark alleys filled with crime writers – was that she had become so confused by the fumes that she was forced to abandon a serious novel, COOL WIND FROM THE FUTURE, and turn instead to mystery fiction, with BLEEDOUT …
  “And yet this is a strange time for the claim to be made, because the boundaries between the two sides of fiction – which we can loosely call literary and populist, although all of the terminology used in these debates tends to be pejorative – is visibly breaking down. The most recent books published by John Banville after winning the Man Booker prize are two detective novels. It can be argued that by publishing these under a pseudonym – Benjamin Black – he solidified the distinction between grim, prize-winning prose and serious paperback-selling stuff. But Doris Lessing, who wrote science fiction under her own name, has just taken the Nobel; and the Costa First Novel prize this year was won by a mystery story, Catherine O’Flynn’s WHAT WAS LOST (right), which isn’t bad for a fumehead …
  “The solution is that, as with non-crime fiction, we should make our generalisations only from the best. But the fumeheads will understandably be fuming about Brady’s remarks. Perhaps the only option is to establish a counter precedent in law, in which a best-selling crime writer argues in court that following a blow to the head or prescription of antidepressants, he was unable to pen anything except a poetically written Bildungsroman about the way that the PE teacher used to look at him. While any reader of her work will be pleased that Joan Brady has sorted out her problem with the cobbler, her attitude to crime fiction is, well, cobblers.”
Incidentally, BLEEDOUT sold in excess of 10,000 copies. Which may explain why Ms Brady is currently writing a follow-up. Well, it’s that or she’s still so bofto on the wowee fumes that she can’t distinguish between serious and genre fiction anymore. Tragic, we call it … Oh, and while we’re on the whole serious / genre thingagummy, here’s the link to the latest instalment of Benny Blanco’s THE LEMUR, currently being serialised in the New York Times.