Suite Smack Talk

A few weeks ago, Steve Mitchelmore raised a provocative point about Suite Française, suggesting that the novel’s glowing reception had more to do with its origins, as opposed to its qualities as a novel. This led to a backblog battle between Steve and a certain literary guy in Oakland.

Now Mark Thwaite has stepped in and sides with Steve, pointing to Kaszuo Ishiguro’s blurb mentioning the “story behind the novel.” Given that Ishiguro devoted a mere fifty-one words to his blurb, I don’t believe this is entirely fair, particularly since he confined the historical context to the second of his two sentences.

Further, both Mark and Steve have dismissed the book without even bothering to examine its contents. Which strikes me as a bit ironic. If the talk should be centered on the book and the book alone, shouldn’t Mark and Steve live up to their own pledges and offer criticism after they’ve read the book?


  1. Rather than me read the book, why don’t you read my post before commenting? I made it plain that my impressions were merely that, impressions, and were gleaned from the innumerable reviews and quotation and extracts.

    As I also pointed out in the comments, it’s also a rather tired resort to demand someone else spend many hours reading the latest fashionable novel (there’s one every week it seems) and perhaps as long writing about them in order to convince others to move on to another kind, which – and here’s the real irony – they’re happy to dismiss as bloodless, abstract, elitist and boring without even having read one, let alone each and everyone.

  2. Hi Ed, Hehehe … I was a lot more measured in my post than you make me sound here! I openly ‘fessed up to not reading Suite F and merely said that Ishiguro’s comments seem to back up Steve’s take on all this rather than Scott et al’s … and then I said I’d comment further when I’ve read it!

  3. Steve & Mark: Fair enough. My concern here is that the impressions or the measured responses you both offered might be misconstrued by others. But thanks for clarifying.

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