10 may. 2011

Negative Review

Here is a very negative review of a book by the writer Tao Lin, Shoplifting From American Apparel. I found it re-tweeted by Tao Lin himself! I have read a few other things by this author so I have a hard time believing the book could be this vile. The reviewer, frankly, comes off as an idiot. First I thought it was a parody, and that the reviewer had actually liked the book quite a bit, because she goes through all those stereotypical moves at the beginning of saying that she is not one of THOSE reviewers who trashes all the avant-garde books. I guess parody and the real thing become hard to distinguish sometimes. It reminds me of one of those evangelical Christians, whose discourse is so over-the-top that it cannot any longer be parodied. Frankly, this kind of review makes me want to defend the book even without reading it, and to become a staunch defender. If people like this don't like his book, it must have some value, right?

The reviewer is looking for existentialism 60 years too late, confusing the character with the author, and generally showing how angry writing is rarely convincing. The bluster just gets in the way of clear thinking.

Compare this writing to a lucid essay on the novel by Tao Lin himself. Whose judgment do you trust more, just on the basis of the prose style itself?

1 comentario:

Clarissa dijo...

And then people say I'm wordy.

From the parts of the novel that was quoted, I think it is quite bad. The review, however, is quite scarily bad. It was especially funny to see the reviewer describe the novel as "alienating, flat, pointless, repetitive, meaningless narrative delivered through an alienating, flat, senseless, boring narrator". In psychoanalysis, we call this "projecting." :-)