Thursday 21 April 2011

A Very Clean Desk

Back to anti-blogging after the London Book Fair, a party spree, a bit of writing and the usual deadening busy-ness of modern life.

I was looking forward to today: the last day in the office after completing the thankless job of doing the royalty statements for over a hundred of our classics titles, the prospect of working on the Simon Boccanegra libretto and winding down before the short Easter break.

The desk was extremely clean yesterday when I left the office – still extremely clean when we dropped off the few remaining copies from the excellent launch of Pink Hotel at the Phoenix Artists Club just before 10:00pm – and even cleaner this morning, when I found out we had been paid a visit (at around 11:30!) by a couple of burglars. They smashed one of the doors of our office, took my computer and another one, and in the process they managed to lose their earpiece and mobile phone . . .

One of our authors suggested I should disrupt their lives by sending nasty text messages to their address book: "I have slept with your sister" – "Your mum's ugly" – so that they get beaten up or have an even tougher life in prison. But I don't think we need to worry too much about them – the police will see to that.

They didn't take any of our books. Illiterate thugs – with so many beautiful books around they went for a couple of worthless computers. . .

Now, anyone wanting to read into this that computers and eBooks will triumph over physical books . . .

Sunday 3 April 2011

Review of Bestseller

Lovely review of Bestseller in today's Independent on Sunday:

"A fine comic caper and a biting satire on the publishing industry. The style is far from literary, but it is cleverly plotted and lands several juicy thumps on its target."

Friday 1 April 2011

Four Quartets

T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets has been, for a long time, one of my favourite modern poems. I used to know most of it by heart, and I even translated a few dozen lines into Italian when I was a student.

Now, after a few years, I have read it again, and I am shocked to find that the work is suddenly mute to me. It's lost its fascination – what was original is now contrived, what was deep is now affected. There are still some great lines, but its style and structure don't resonate with me any more. It is unbelievable how taste changes over time.

And the same applies to popular and critical taste: what is acclaimed by one age or one individual is despised by another.

I'm more and more convinced that he's a fool who writes to obtain literary fame.