Friday, July 8, 2011

Unorginality and genre rules

Interesting review of new Benjamin Black (pseudonym of lit-fic god John Banville) crime novel in the Guardian on Thursday, with thoughts on how a Booker Prize winner deals with genre stuff:

(The book's) frequent generic echoes (the book also contains a pattern of knowing references to Ian Fleming's Bond) are something far more complicated than unoriginality. For Banville, they represent a respect for the form in which he has chosen to work. A sonnet lasts for 14 lines; the test is how good those lines can be. A detective novel has an emotionally insecure life insurance risk at its centre: the challenge is what can be achieved, linguistically and psychologically, around these fixed points.The answer, in the Quirke series, is a great deal....
Also, this:
There are too many considerable prose stylists in the crime field (PD James, Reginald Hill, James Ellroy, for a start) for the Man Booker winner to be offering any kind of writing lessons to such professionals, but his sentences are a regular pleasure.


David Chute said...

I should give Banville/Black another try. mY brain is so liogy these days that I'm actually reading Richard Castle -- a book supposedly written by a character on a TV show.

David Chute said...

Just Kindled Silver Swan. Liked the review you cited and the implication that Banville doesn't condescend. And I so deeply approve of the literary mystery trend. Stories in which people are trying to figure things out? No serious potential of nay kind, obviouslty.

Meanwhile, the smart money seems to be on this guy as the real author of the Richard Castle novels: