venerdì, febbraio 23, 2007

The Red Dragon Is Not Fond of the Guardian

The Guardian backpedalled furiously over the suggestion that Martin Amis may be Britain's greatest living author. Even the furious backpedalling infuriated me because it made clear there was some frontpedalling in terms of that perception the first place. I'd be interested in whatever argument people have that Amis is a good author, let alone better than a large quantity of others, let alone in a league anywhere close to Kazuo Fuckin' Ishiguro's, who fuckin' rocks, fuck, and who didn't even get mentioned in the Guardian's backpedalling, which re-enforces my feelings of hostility towards the fuckin' Guardian, fuck.

Anyways, there must be something in Amis's work that strikes a chord with a lot of people and I'm fucked if I can tell what it is. He does have a talent for painting pictures with descriptive language - a passable turn with an adjective. He should write non-fiction, maybe. Or possibly for the Guardian - it seems they have some perceptions in common.

Reading that article does make me wonder why someone would try to determine a best author, but it also, knee-jerk like, makes me start thinking about who my favourite living author is. Who's yours?

For me, Kazuo Ishiguro is a candidate. So is A.S. Byatt, though I found Possession a bit of a slog; I like her shorter stories and novellas better, as with Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood. Patrick Süskind is so very, very good. If I had to choose a favourite, I guess it would be him, because everything I've read from him is perfect in my eyes. And yet I have this intense weakness for Fay Weldon; sometimes her style will annoy me at the halfway point of her books, but I still love them, and I've loved her since I was 13, so that's definitely the longest I've loved a living author.

Anyways. The two reigning sentiments I've got on the question are that at least I don't have to choose, and that it's annoying that there are so many authors whose books I haven't read yet, and shows I haven't used my time effectively.

10 commenti:

Sugarplum ha detto...

I'm with you there. How can you possibly know when there is so much you haven't read?

Who is your favourite ... always stumps me. I can't tell you my favourite musician, band, singer, author, director, actor, television show or anything like that. I used to have favourites but then I turned seven and things got a lot more complicated. I can tell you what I am enjoying now, I can tell you the song that makes me happy even when I'm in the most pissed-off mood. I can tell you the song that's running through my head but does that make it the best song ever? No.

I can't compare books at all. Every one is a world to its own and I delve into them. I can name a few that draw me back into them every time I pick them up. That is a sign of a good book but each book is a personal experience and I connect with it on a uniquely personal level. Margaret Atwood writes beautifully, Thomas King makes me piss myself as does Hiromi Goto, I couldn't put Vassanji's Vikram Lall down for the life of me and there are piles and piles of books I have loved and forced on family and friends. But something that I have learned while teaching Literature is that reading is deeply personal and things that I think are piss-your-pants-hilarious are offensive and crude or boring to others. So let the stodgey men make their lists.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Nah-ah. I *lurve* lists. I probably only make three or four a week and don't use them for anything, but they're great fun. I couldn't do it as a profession, of course . . .

Sugarplum ha detto...

Really? I didn't know you were so methodical.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Only in the least practical way possible.

Dale ha detto...

Paul Auster. My latest favourite of the last few years. I recommend Oracle Night and The Book of Illusions although I didn't enjoy The New York Trilogy. I've started his The Brooklyn Follies and am enjoying it.

His wife is an author of some repute as well I believe, Siri Hustvedt, although I haven't read her.

There will never be enough time to read all that I want or to listen, see or do. Argh.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

That is why I just don't fucking get people who say they wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they won the lottery. Why couldn't they just get a fucking library card, for god's sake. Use thier time. Do the plethora, the vast and overwhelming backlog of things we'd do in a heartbeat if we only had the fucking time.

Melbine ha detto...

Just to show you how annoyed I am at all the books I haven't read, I haven't read any of the authors that have been mentioned except for Atwood and Munro and Byatt. I think I connect to female authors more...

I like to make lists too. It's a bit of an OCD thing, but I think they're fun. I like drawing up lists for 'favourites' too - it gets me thinking...

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I have a feeling women are generally better than men at writing novels. Biologically evolved to do more sustained observation and abstract analysis and all that. But of course I'd say that.

Dale ha detto...

I think you 'guys' are right. It's the same reason comediennes are generally much funnier than the dick joke world of comedy.

Paul Auster writes like a woman. A woman who is a man. :-)

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

It's a question of generalities of talent, of course. In my mind, anyways. I think genius is pretty evenly spread across gender.