“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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The General Reading Public: Morons?

I got a pretty depressing email yesterday, from a guy who is a terrific writer (names not mentioned, for courtesy’s sake), the gist of which ranneth thusly:
“I have pretty much decided to treat fiction writing the way I did before I started making a living at it (appropriate, since I no longer am), which is to just do it for my own amusement, if it gets published and I get a little check once in a while so much the better.”
  Which followed hard on the heels of a very similar email from another terrific writer, who’s pretty down in the dumps about his latest book, which is marvellous, but which he reckons might well be his last, because he’s a grown man with real responsibilities and who the hell can waste time writing brilliant novels when there’s kids to be fed and roofs to be kept over little heads …?
  Meanwhile, the publishing world is agog with rumours that there’s record printings of Dan Brown’s latest waste of a rain forest.
  There’s something not quite right, folks. Either the general reading public are morons, which I very much doubt, being one of said public, or the people running the industry are the morons.
  But I have to say, while writing novels ‘just for my own amusement’ is the best reason in the world to do it, writing novels for fun because no one wants to buy them, while the likes of Dan Brown, that plank Grisham and Waistoid Patterson sell by the barrow-load … Actually, hold on – scratch the paragraph above. The general reading public are morons.
  This blog will self-destruct in 10 seconds. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 …