Saddam, Rose of Romance

From Jo Tatchell’s piece on dic(tator)-lit in Prospect (link via Arts & Letters Daily):

“Does Saddam have talent in the romantic fantasy genre? To determine the answer, I sent extracts of Zabibah and the King ‘blind’ to some experts. The editor at Mills and Boon, after agreeing to comment, backed out when she discovered who the author was. But JoJo Moyes, winner of the Romantic Novelists’ Association novel of the year award, agreed, and was alarmed by the style. With the first four paragraphs of the book containing no less than 13 rhetorical questions, she pointed out that the author was not interested in his readers. ‘I had a fear that it was by Osama bin Laden or Alastair Campbell,’ she said, trying to guess the author. ‘Once I knew who it was it all made sense. His writing was the literary equivalent of those lurid fantasy murals he had painted all over his palaces.’”





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