Sunday, November 04, 2012

Mutual Adoration

Writing is a hard and lonely business and I salute all who strive to make a living from it.  However we do expect critical objectivity when we read our book reviews. In last Saturday’s Irish Times (3 Nov) Edmund White reviews Colm Toibin, and is fulsome in his praise.  Meanwhile, in the Wall Street Journal on the very same day, Toibin describes how his friend White introduced him to the delights of gay internet dating sites (!). Too close for critical comfort I would opine.  Also, in the same edition of the Irish Times, John Boyne respectfully admires Roddy Doyle latest novel.  A cursory exercise on Google will show you that Doyle and Boyne interesect regularly on the tight little circuit of Irish writing festivals.  Maybe we're just too small to presume upon balance and objectivity.  Anybody  you might ask is likely to have intersected with the subject of the review at some stage.  Maybe the trick is to stop working authors reviewing one another.  Enlist academics and media folk instead.

STOP PRESS:  I see Amazon has just banned authors from reviewing fellow authors.  Maybe the Irish Times should follow suit.