Sunday, January 22, 2006

He should have known better

I finished reading a novel today, and started on a new one while I was eating dinner. (The Man and I have a rule about civilized eating which is one word different from my father's rule about civilized eating. My father's rule was NO BOOKS AT THE TABLE, and ours is BOOKS AT THE TABLE.)

The new book is one I picked up at the book sale back in December. According to the blurb on the back, the Washington Post said this book is "better than The Da Vinci Code" (how difficult can THAT be? That should have told me something), and the Sunday Times said it was "richly enjoyable, sophisticated, and something else covered by the price sticker." There is more praise inside the front cover, including "beautifully structured," "a novel to savour," "a riveting tale," "adroit narrative," and so on. I was looking forward to it.

I read the first five pages, turned the page, and read this:

... Bobby announced that their annual vacation the coming spring would be in Italy. He hadn't even asked her opinion. Lianne was quietly hoping for Aruba. All the same, she demurred. It was the best thing to do, and, as it turned out, Rome hadn't been a bad choice. In fact, she was starting to like the place.

I closed the book and decided to read something else. I still have a lot of books from that sale. I don't need to read a book written by someone who doesn't know what his words mean.

It is the writer's seventh novel, according to his bio, and he has been a staff writer for newspapers for most of his working career.

HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

11 comments:

kenju said...

Please tell us the title and the author - so we know what to avoid.

Ms Mac said...

Kenju, if you stick the quote into Google it tells you exactly who it is!

"Better than the Da Vinci Code" Yes well, I think we all know my opinion of that book. Honestly young lady, I think it is you who should have known better!

;-)

Wiccachicky said...

That's pretty bad. I've had that feeling a lot with fiction lately. Where have all the good editors gone?

BobCiz said...

How did that drivel ever get published in the first place? Did that author actually get paid for this? If so I might just have to attempt to make an easy buck myself.

melinama said...

It's amazing what tin ears most people - readers AND writers - have. It's an affliction to live in the world of the lowest common denominator.

Wendy said...

There are fewer and fewer well-written books appearing on the shelves....I think it's just a marketing game, and all about 'the bottom line' - money -...I also find it very hard to find something to read that is worthwhile. I wish we had an English library here because one can root around in a library and find lots of older books, written in the days when good writing mattered. Buying from eBay, as I do, is often a hit-and-miss event.

BerlinBear said...

Just out of interest, is your problem with this paragraph that the author thinks demur means the opposite of what it actually means, or that he has a seven year-old's grasp of tenses? Or both?

Badaunt said...

BerlinBear: It was both, and also the incomplete sentences that littered the other five pages. I got sick of forgiving him in case it turned out to be a good story. I can forgive clunky writing up to a point, but that section I quoted tipped me over the edge.

What happened to editing? Doesn't anybody do it any more?

Robert said...

I'm just glad that when I Googled the passage, it didn't turn out to be an author I liked. Never heard of this one.

Librarianguish said...

I actually had to look up "demurred" and got a real good laugh over that one!! Ha ha! We ought to take up writing books, it seems we'd do just fine. Oh! But wait - we use words correctly and don't write drivelous claptrap. Never mind.

I finally had the good sense to look you up on Flickr today, so I saw your old pictures from your trip. Very cool, especially the crows on face. Oh, it's always crows...

I haven't been circulating for a while, but am now back out in the world. Thanks for your continured visits to my blog!

Librarianguish said...

Continured - that's like demured.