Monday, 24 November 2008

A warning

If you ever make the mistake of writing about books, in any capacity whatsoever:

Never - and I mean NEVER - read anything about the book in question before starting work - don't read reviews, for example, or pre-publication interviews where the writer helpfully explains what the book is really about, that kind of shit. This is especially important if you're writing a book review.

I've just spent ten fucking days trying to grind out a thousand comprehensible words about some wretched book that I have to review.

Actually, the book isn't wretched - I'm the wretch. I made the mistake of reading the fulsome reviews before starting to read the book myself. And now I can't quite focus my thoughts well enough to form an independent opinion of it. And, I want to be mildly unpleasant about it, but can't pluck up the courage to do so, especialy after the lavish praised rained down upon the bloody book from up on high. And thus, I feel like a charlatan, a huckster, a fool.

And, because I can't get the wretched review out of the way, I have a week of work backed up. And I'm only being paid tuppence for the bloody thing, anyway.

I'll finish it tomorrow, even if I have to rip my eyeballs out first.

OK, rant over, I feel better.

postscript - What has this got to do with a Goy's life in Israel, I hear you ask? Well, the review is for a Jewish publication. So that must count for something. And I wanted to - I needed to - whine about it. And, the review was commissioned partly on the basis of the fact that the book would be of interest to aforementioned publication's readership because of its Jewish theme. Which it ain't. One could substitute the supposed Jewish character of the book for Buddhist, or Animist, or Pentacostalist, and it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to the narrative. One could, perhaps, describe the book as being gratuitously Jewish. But I need to find a way of injecting this...this...elusive, even transcendent, Jewish character into the review. Or I won't get my tuppence. Oy, vey zmir...

(post postscript - by way of analogy: years ago, I watched a film called Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Odd film. Set in Savannah, Georgia. With John Cusack and a peculiar looking Kevin Spacey. I think directed by Clint Eastwood. Never read the book, oddly enough.


Long, pointless interlude involving some mumbo-jumbo with a voodoo priestess. Lengthy. Meaningless. Could have been excised from the film without altering the storyline one iota. That's how I feel about the alleged Jewishness of this book. But then, I'm not a Jew. Maybe I'm missing something. Perhaps I should ask the Feminist Mrs Goy to have a look and tell me what she thinks.)


No comments: