Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bourne of cynicism

There shouldn't be so much fuss over Michael Dibdin's spiked review of Jonathan Freedland's pseudonymous thriller. Negative reviews are often rejected. I know of three, including one of my own. Editors have to edit after all, which is why you won't see anything positive here. What appalls me in each case, however, is that the book was written and published in the first place.

I suspect in Freedland's case, he'll soon be telling one inevitable interviewer how he had no intention of writing a highbrow novel for intellectual reviewers - it is just an unpretentious yarn for the general reader - and telling another, once it misses out on the Booker and the Whitbread, that the literary world is policed by snobs who sneer at genre fiction but popular novels can be great literature too, look at Dickens. I was playing with genre, he'll say, extending it, inverting it, subverting it.

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