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September 01, 2005

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Comments

birnbaum

Cole Haddon, the anti Baxter tyro seems hell bent on emulating Dale Peck. I love it when a hit man levels the charge of ubiquitous ego at a writer and then raves and rants exhibiting their own elephantine self at every syllable and turn.

Are a couple hundred bucks and a diminished GPA valid reasons for a vendetta? I guess if you have to fill some space they will do.


One thing, this oft repeated charge that so and so writer is only read by his peers which besides being unverifiable seems not to be damaging even if it is true. Maybe I'm missing the point?

Ken

When will we "see how they run?"

Angela

I gotta agree with the above. Is it really grounds for a vendetta, and what about the Metro times running this piece. Nothing better to fill their pages?

Happy Booker

Hey, what's wrong with one post a day? It's all about pacing, TEV. Wendi

genevieve

Mark, we know you are just lying on the bed, listening to the music playing in your hee-ead. I am pleased to see the National Gallery of Victoria credited as a contributor to the Blake Archive, BTW - it holds enough prints to have a nice little exhibition of its own from time to time.

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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."