Month: June 2003

  • Houellebecq is back. Andrew Riemer demonstrates the art of the back-handed compliment: “[Lanzarote is] a slight, though fascinating, work of a kind which, with another writer, might never have been translated.”

  • The Asia Times reviews Bernard Henri-Levy’s Who Killed Daniel Pearl? The reviewer is mildly sceptical: “The truth about his death may be much less heroic and more pedestrian than BHL claims. If we analyze what happened from a journalistic point of view, Pearl may have been merely a victim of media wars – of information […]

  • The author of The Bride Stripped Bare, Nikki Gemmell, isn’t spouting the usual line about the book not being remotely autobiographical. Just don’t mention taxi drivers or orgasms in front of her husband.

  • Tim Wu has an interesting perspective on international copyright laws, using Harry Potter and the many knock-offs as an example. “The English original is clearly the best. The imitators aren’t as good but are cheaper and come out much more frequently (there are already three Tanya Grotter books). There is, in short, a secondary Potter […]

  • Squawk box: Children’s author Alan Davidson is suing the makers of Chicken Run for plagiarising the film from his book, Escape From Cold Ditch.

  • “Good Faith was written out of rage.” Jane Smiley on her new book in the LA Times, and in Identity Theory.

  • Blake Morrison on Big Books–the ones that need an XL label.

  • Any Indian novelist who’s been called “Rushdie’s heir” (and believe me, that’s half the bunch!) will sympathise with the new generation of Asian-American novelists, who face questions like this: “Amy Tan has already written the Asian American experience. Why should we hire you?”

  • “Around three o’clock on Saturday afternoon, I raised my eyes in despair from somewhere in the middle of the book, and thought with shame and intensity, ‘Jesus, I’m reading a book about sodding pixies.’” Unlike other Potter-trashers, Philip Hensher nails Rowling for the most basic sin of them all–bad writing of an order that would […]

  • The nominees for the public’s list of the 50 worst reads are in at The Independent. From Herman Melville to J K Rowling, Elias Canetti to James Joyce, somebody out there hates them. A special thank you to Andrew Brown for calling Paulo Coelho to account: “For a noble plant to finish up as a […]