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June 03, 2008

Comments

Matt

That snark at Amis seems to confuse cliche and idiom.

Steven Augustine

"That snark at Amis seems to confuse cliche and idiom."

There is very little actual thinking going on in this "debate".

blue cave

lol @ ian mc ewan
i always said the man is not a "big" author.

I have also read the story he read. I think it's from Kundera, but not sure. But 100% i've read the story before...

Oh i am loving this :)

blue cave

lol @ ian mc ewan
i always said the man is not a "big" author.

I have also read the story he read. I think it's from Kundera, but not sure. But 100% i've read the story before...

Oh i am loving this :)

P.T. Smith

The McEwan thing bothers me. It's not an original tale by any means, I know I've read it from Douglas Adams, but I've heard that it was written out before that. However, it's a common urban legend anectodote, no harm in it being used more than once.

Daniel

Huff Post is wrong about sales. Sales are up. Profit is down. Some publishers are in peril, the folio format is not.

lwoolf

Yeah, it is not what you write--how original, etc. ---but HOW you write it, no? Otherwise, Shakespeare is a big hack.

Josh

"lol @ ian mc ewan
i always said the man is not a "big" author."

Uh, um, uh.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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."