Friday, 23 March 2012
Lavie Tidhar's thoughtful post 'Shall I Tell You The Problem With Adam Roberts?' is an interesting thing. Some books (some writers) are not problems, of course: we enjoy them, or perhaps deplore them, straightforwardly. But if a book presents us with a problem, we may go one of two ways. We might say: 'I don't really get this book, and that fact says something about me.' Or we might say: 'I don't really get this book, and that's a problem with the book.' And actually the key, here, is often reputational. If a reader reads Proust (say) and 'doesn't get it', she is more likely to think [a]; if she reads a new writer and has the same reaction it's more likely to be [b].