Sunday, September 03, 2006

The despair of popular authors (part 1)

In an article that has been discussed by me and others, Nick Hornby claimed that the broadsheet press commonly sneers at readers who prefer to be entertained rather than suffer "opaquely written novels", i.e. the kind that win literary prizes. Evidence for this must come from the tenor of each edition. So let's look at this morning's Guardian Books page.
What's going to upset Hornby today? Well, there are prominent articles on Roddy Doyle, Toby Young and a celebrity chef, plus a story about Wayne Rooney's autobiography, a bookclub focus on Ian Rankin, an interview with Bill Bryson and a review of William Boyd's "pacy espionage thriller".

Oh, but wait, look further down, there's a picture of Gunter Grass! No doubt this will contain conclusive proof. Here we'll cower submissively as some highbrow intellectual type tells us to thrust aside any thoughts of a thumping good read and, instead, to immerse ourselves in Grass' ouevre of (no doubt) dour and unreadable 800-page prize-winning modernist tomes.

Er ... no. It's another news story concerning the "furore" about his life which "shows no sign of abating".

Part 2

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