Thursday, 2 July 2009

A specific incident.

Of course I have always been aware that everything you write on the internet can be found with a simple Google search, but sometimes it takes a specific incident to really bring it home.

A specific incident like this.

I don't know what comes as more of a surprise: that someone out there actually read my blog, or that the passage of the review quoted actually sounds quite good. Since when were my thoughts that coherent?

But that makes me sound flippant and I do not feel flippant at all...

I hate that I may have been, in whatever tiny little way, responsible for making someone scared of fiction. I hate that I may have been, in whatever tiny little way, responsible for damaging the confidence of a writer.

That is not what I want.

That is not what I want at all.

It seems that the fiction I like is very different to the fiction Chris Killen likes. That is what this boils down to. Perhaps that and my blabbermouth inability to censor my opinions.

After all, what right do I have to knock the work of anyone who has actually managed to write and publish a novel?

Theoretically I have every right. But I havn't earned it.

Chris Killen warrants respect. I'm not sure I do.

I write reviews because it is easier, safer, and more manageable than sitting down to work on my own novel. I write reviews because they let me pretend to know what I am talking about. I write reviews because they help me fill the gaping chasms in my literary knowledge.

I write reviews for myself. I publish them here on the off chance someone may stop by and say 'oh my, this person is very talented: lets ask him to write for us.'

Silly, isn't it?

Goodnight ever watching eye of the internet.

And goodnight to the people sitting at their computers surfing through these ever increasing pages of noise. Sometimes it is easy to forget you are there.


Sarah said...

Just thought I'd wave back from cyberspace and say I enjoy reading your reviews (even the negative ones).

As long as you explain why you didn't like something, I think you're free and clear. Like Chris Killen said having quoted your review of The Bird Room - that sounds like something I'd want to read, if only to see if I agree with you or not!

coningsby said...

Well, he seems to take criticism rather better than Alain de Botton...

So far as very bad books are concerned, I don't think you need to worry too much about an author's hurt feelings. The first duty of a critic is to his readers. Personally, I think your enthusiasm for the good stuff more than outweighs your occasional sniffiness to the bad. You're clearly on the side of the angels.