Lisa Allardice dares to ask a question that some people have answered, but have refrained from voicing, fearful of being labeled some rabble-rouser to be dealt a harsh blow, never again to be invited to those swank cocktail parties: Is Anne Tyler washed up? Since I value my respiratory tract (and I’ve been known to cave when wine and cheese are placed beneath my nose, but only in weak moments), I’ll only say that I’ve liked Tyler’s books in the past, but reading Ladder of Years on a whim was a very bad idea. I suspect my struggle had to do with what Tyler considered to be the ultimate revolutionary choice for a woman: running away from your husband. And this in 1996 with a rising divorce rate. I think we can all agree that this precludes Tyler from the “contemporary literature” canon.
Also in The Guardian is an amusing and forthright essay from Danny Leigh, first-time novelist of The Greatest Gift. Not only does Leigh try to wrestle with the conundrum of whether his protagonist mirrors his life, but he also confesses that, as a human being, he figures his life experience is pretty banal. But that apparently didn’t stop him from discovering things about himself that he could throw an imaginative spin on.
Heru Ptah apparently made a killing selling his book on the subway. To the tune of $100,000 and an MTV Books deal with an advance in the mid-five figures.
Great headline with disappointing followthrough: Diet books with prose to savor? Fat chance. If only. And this fillip in the Philly. I dare a major newspaper to assess the poetic value of The Atkins Diet.