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.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Moon, My Butt, And Other Very Big Issues That Occasionally Block Out The Sun

I do understand that e-publishing is proving a very liberating option for many writers, and that some are doing very well indeed from e-only publishing. What I don’t understand is why JA Konrath & Co insist on polarising the issue, and pitch it is as books vs e-books, with winner take all. Isn’t it possible for a writer (and his or her publisher) to accommodate those who like to read books and those who prefer to read on an electronic device? Seems like the simplest solution to me.
  One thing I don’t like about the debate is the way the e-evangelists are delighting in the prospects of dancing on the grave of traditional publishing. Your opinion on ‘gatekeepers’ et al notwithstanding, the decline of traditional publishing will see a lot of jobs to go the wall, and a lot of talented people out of work. Is that really something to celebrate, just so that we can pay $0.99 to read THE MOON, MY BUTT, AND OTHER VERY BIG ISSUES THAT OCCASIONALLY BLOCK OUT THE SUN?
  Anyway, the latest missive from the Dark Lord, aka John Connolly, offers his thoughts on the same subject. To wit:
“It’s one of the reasons why I find myself growing increasingly angry with those of my peers who seem to have divested themselves of any loyalty to bricks-and-mortar bookstores in favour of a rush to solely electronic publishing, too ignorant to even be ashamed to use phrases like “dead tree publishing” or “legacy publishing” about the beauty and usefulness of a printed book. Hey, guys and gals: those bookstores, chains and independents, that you’ve apparently abandoned to their fate were the making of you all, and you were very willing to badger their owners into stocking your books when they were the only game in town. I’m as happy as anyone to take my royalties on e-book sales, and I’m grateful to the companies that distribute me in that form, but I firmly believe that electronic publishing and printed books can co-exist in our brave new world, and I’d dearly like to see bookstores survive to take their place in that world, because it will be a poorer, coarser place without them. End of lesson.”
  Meanwhile, Conor Fitzgerald reviewed John Connolly’s THE BURNING SOUL for the Irish Times a couple of weekends ago, when he had this to say about Connolly’s narrative style:
“THE BURNING SOUL opens with a filmic bird’s-eye view of the setting, thanks to the presence of some ravens on loan from Edgar Allan Poe. Connolly confidently guides us into their malevolent little minds, then it’s up into the cold air again, down into a car and then into a character’s mind in a blending of first-person narration and omniscience that is reminiscent of Dickens. Indeed, as the epigraph of this book consists of an excerpt from GREAT EXPECTATIONS, I am confident that Connolly knows exactly what he is doing and how much he is risking, which, for me, is the mark of a highly accomplished writer now beginning to explore the limits of his chosen form.” - Conor Fitzgerald, the Irish Times
  Dickens, no less. For the rest, clickety-click here