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August 26, 2003


So the promising British novelist

So the promising British novelist Tibor Fischer (I Like Being Killed, The Thought Gang) hates Martin Amis's new novel, likening his disappointment to seeing "your favorite uncle...in a school playground, masturbating." Mayhem has ensued [nyt], even though the novel hasn't actually come out yet. And so, the list of recent British literary feuds grows longer: Le Carre vs. Rushdie, Naipaul vs. Paul Theroux (who's American, but still), and now this.

The central problem here, though, may just be that writers get old and tired and can't be expected to write a great novel every time, and because they are great novelists, their failures seem that much worse. In a way, this incident seems to mirror the situation between John Updike and Nicholson Baker a while back. When Updike's terrible In the Beauty of the Lilies came out a few years ago, Nicholson Baker -- who had previously written a book about his obsession with Updike -- wrote a review saying everyone who bought the book should rush down to wherever they bought it, bang on the doors and windows, and demand a refund. When idols fall, they fall on us.

posted by adm at 1:51 AM | #


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