Unable to offer kind criticism

I recently met a man who was impressive, not just for his seeming thoughtfulness and kindness, but by his considerable literary accomplishments. He’s written about twelve books, ranging from novels to poetry collections to literary criticism. He’s celebrated. Anyway, I bought one of his novels and that’s the problem. It’s not good. It’s not all not good, but mostly it’s not good. I’ve been wrestling with ways to compliment him: I really love it that you’ve decided to write in a style that seems on its face to not have any style at all, or I think it’s great that there are no conceits in your writing or Such an interesting choice to deliver all that exposition through interviews (the interviews are mind-numbingly dull, but FULL of information about everything).


So I’m not going to say anything. I will, however, force myself to finish the book in hopes that it will finally bloom into something interesting.


It’s hard to write a book. Really hard. So I should keep my opinions to myself. But I wonder why I should force myself to shape sentences with tweezers and some other writers seem not to be aware of a sentence’s potential to reflect an author’s flaws, his insanity. That certainly seems to be the problem here. A book has no choice but to reflect the truth about its author.

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