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August 12, 2005

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Comments

Justine

My first delight of the day. Yay MOTEV, and more, please.

(And I want that Zadie Smith book.)

Jimmy Beck

You sneaky little MOTEVer, you. To your own mother you do this? Oy.

Karen

Whenever I see MOTEV's face in that right-hand corner, I get a little charge of pleasure. It's downright Pavlovian.

angela

Three cheers for MOTEV! I like her honesty and thoughtful questions. But, Mark, the jig is up. She's on to you and your MOTEVing--But I liked your response:)

But I do have to agree, it's often difficult to get a good sense of who really is the best candidate since many of the books do tend to be sent out to reviewers and the like--the general readership isn't privy to things that are being voted on and that makes the list a bit frustrating to read.

I look forward to more MOTEV.

Valerie

Long live MOTEV! EVERYTHING seems a little fishy these days.

Patry

MOTEV needs her own blog. And I want the Zadie SMith book, too.

ae

My first comment here! And how lucky that it's in response to such grand MOTEVery. I look forward to more. Yaay for Mom!

P.S. Ishiguro's new one is first on my list to read, followed by Z. Smith's.

Dave Worsley

Perhaps I missed something. Has MOTEV any strong feelings on one J. Banville?
I lament that Jonathan Coe isn't on the list, but I'm also looking forward to Zadie Smith.

Barry

There is more than one brand new name on that list - Marina Lewycka for a start, and the author I am reading right now, Tash Aw. I can't quite see The Harmony Silk Factory going all the way, but for a first novel, it is pretty special.

smh

Every day when I read this blog, I'm hoping it's a MOTEV day. I'm feeling good and lucky right now.

MJ Rose

Definately More Motev!!!

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TEV DEFINED


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."

SECOND LOOK

  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

    Bs

    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe

    Rider_4

    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."