Saturday, May 20, 2006

Colm Tóibín has had ten ears

It's sad and moving that David Lodge has found himself unable to read Colm Tóibín's novel about Henry James whose publication clashed with his own. He mentions it only in passing in this long extract from his latest book The Year of Henry James. But the rest of the article reveals the persistence of his anguish.

The novels really are quite different and he shouldn't be so despondent. From several months reading distance, Lodge's Author, Author is my favourite even though I read Tóibín's first and couldn't imagine it being bettered.

Readers of the extract will be momentarily confused after they read a paragraph in which Lodge prefixes a description of a meeting with his fellow Jamesian with an explanation "that in recent years I have become quite deaf". He failed to recognise Tóibín and couldn't hear a word he said:
If this seems improbable, bear in mind that I had only seen Tóibín in the flesh for about an hour, 10 ears previously, and in the meantime his physical appearance had altered. [sic]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting a link to this excerpt from Lodge's essay. I'm in the midst of reading one of his earlier collections of essays (The Practice of Writing) and finding it very though provoking. I haven't yet read Author, Author but with my interest in it heightened by the essay excerpt and your endorsement, it's quickly moving toward the top of my "to be read" pile.



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