Friday, 20 November 2009

Would It Help If I Died?

Hope I'm not tempting fate, but I couldn't help thinking as I laboured through the first 200 pages of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, that Stieg Larsson only started shifting shedloads of his Millennium Trilogy after he passed away. I can't see what all the fuss is about. He seems to break every novel-writing rule ever posited. It's slow, laden with exposition, lacks tension, has about a thousand characters - all but three of whom share the same surname - and turns the previously immutable law of show, don't tell on its head. One weighty paragraph is devoted to the detailed technical specifications of various laptops...which is where I decided to put myself out of my misery. I know his politics were laudable and he was, apparently, a wonderful and gifted man, but I can only think that the origins of his must-read popularity have little to do with the quality of his fiction.

James Dean was a decent pretty-boy actor - one of many - who became iconic posthumously having appeared in only three films. Van Gogh was either ridiculed or ignored during his life. Michael Jackson is selling millions more albums now than he was a few months ago. Death, the bandwagon effect, even notoriety, can influence one's judgement. I mean, is Robbie Williams actually any good? Can't put my finger on it but I quite like him -sorry- and it doesn't matter if there are a million better singers. Russell Brand has never made me smile, let alone laugh; others think his hair alone is side-splitting. And what about Picasso? - don't get him at all. Does anyone?

So, what does this all mean? Fuck all, probably. Or maybe that I ought to give serious consideration to swan-diving off Tower Bridge. Ultimately, it's impossible to second guess the public. So what if my books are better than Nick Hornby's or Tony Parsons'? (Bad example - anyone's books are better than Tony Parsons'). But until someone in a position of power comes along and validates me - and the public back his/her judgement by buying my books - no-one will ever know.

Now, where was my submissions list?

Memo to self. Must stop ranting.

1 comment:

  1. I hereby validate you.

    Also, I think - before you do anything rash - you should draw up a list of possible options for your own demise. Take into account the weather, your height, your phobias (of, say, rope, poison, electricity...) and condense it to a short list of, maybe, four ways to exit.

    I'd be happy to give advice on the last selection.

    Who was it (Hattie Hayridge?) who said she wasn't twinned with any particular city, but she had a suicide pact with Dusseldorf?

    It got me thinking.

    That's all.