This is something that's been bugging me for months now, and I think I blame the relentless march toward the dominance of a handful of novels, a couple memoirs and usually any media-generated tome that gathers whatever available wind is left.
The first paragraph says it all:
"I think I am over Ian McEwan. I am replete. I really couldn't care less if I never read another one. I had this epiphany last week, while reading Blackmoor, by Edward Hogan, a brilliant and sensitive first novel published by Simon & Schuster in May."
Now I like Ian McEwan just fine, even defended Chesil Beach against charges that it wasn't as good as Atonement, etc. But really, he doesn't need another advocate and I do kind of know what I'm going to get if I read another of his books. That's not to say that I won't keep up, because the job requires that you're at least familiar with most of the heavyweights.
But the post goes on to say that there's a whack of "sparkling prose" getting ignored in the face of a few juggernauts. This isn't a screed against aging consumers opting for safe entertainment in their literature; because they pay my mortgage. I love them all.
But if it continues to be such, the ramifications for the next crop of young writers are going to be even cloudier than they already are.
This is a pretty long lead in to put in a plug for the new Maggie Helwig novel. It's out from Coach House Press and I hope to get to it this weekend. She's typifies for me a Canadian writer who's as fine as any of the regular crowd, but doesn't get nearly the attention that she should.
Posted by Dave