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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cuddly Dudley Strikes Again

There really is no one else around like Ruth Dudley Edwards (right), author of MURDERING AMERICANS and full-time jagged bayonet in the side of political correctness. Reviewing the latest offering from Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) in last weekend’s Irish Times, La Dud used the platform to take sideswipes at Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright, the literary establishment in general, and - yep, you guessed it - one John Banville. The gist runneth thusly:
“It takes a lot these days to persuade me to read any fiction other than upbeat crime novels, since I find contemporary so-called literary fiction almost invariably disappointing or unpleasant. Foolishly, I allowed myself to be persuaded into reviewing Anne Enright’s THE GATHERING for the Literary Review which made me feel sick (I am squeamish) and which I dismissed as horrid just a few days before she won the Man Booker Prize. Although I once read a John Banville novel (THE UNTOUCHABLE – a roman á clef about the traitor Anthony Blunt) and liked it, I had no inclination to read his Man Booker prize-winner, THE SEA, which sounded lethally depressing, but I let my arm be twisted into reviewing his second crime novel in his Benjamin Black persona – and, being thorough, I first read its predecessor, CHRISTINE FALLS. These should have plunged me into terminal gloom, being about Quirke, an alcoholic pathologist in 1950s Dublin contemplating at world of lies and silence, pregnant girls exiled to laundries, abducted babies, ruthless priests, blackmail, drug addiction, sexual predators and plenty more of the same …”
Erm, yes. Let’s just move swiftly on to the good stuff, shall we?
“I’ve wondered why I like these books so much. It is partly because of Black’s skilful evocation of my city when I was a child: he doesn’t go in for set pieces about place, more for telling detail … It is partly too that despite the subject matter, there is no gratuitous nastiness or disgusting imagery. More important is that Black has produced two highly intelligent, disconcerting, unpredictable and beautifully written page-turners which tell us a great deal about our past and address serious moral issues. In a sane literary world, THE SILVER SWAN would be considered for another Booker prize, but, in fact, Black is unlikely even to be nominated. The literary establishment despises what it calls the genre novel. The notion that a novel should be driven by a compelling narrative is just so yesterday.”
Right, that’s it – consider Crime Always Pays’ stalking of Nicole Kidman officially oh-ver. From now on, it’s La Dud or bust for us …

1 comment:

John McFetridge said...

She's right. With the passing of Norman Mailer we're reminded that yesterday compelling narrative was in.