Saturday, May 17, 2014

Boyko in Wall Street Journal, Globe & Mail

Who's that guy? D@*ned if I know.
It was a good weekend for Novelists, yes indeed, with wonderful write-ups in both The Globe & Mail and The Wall Street Journal. "Few writers in this country have a better poker face than C.P. Boyko," begins Michael Hingston in the Globe, going on to call him "vivid and wickedly funny," noting that "Boyko is at his best when documenting the ways in which writers insulate themselves from reality by adopting the trappings and jargon of the publishing world into their everyday lives." (He also, ahem, implies that authorship is a kind of terminal madness, and that writing short fiction perhaps lessens one's exposure, and thus the acuity of the condition. Could the same be said for the publishing short fiction? I wonder.)

Today, the same day, the very same day, our good friends over at The Wall Street Journal had this to say (noting that a review of Edward St. Aubyn's Lost for Words preceded it, and didn't fare quite so well):
The stories in C.P. Boyko's uproarious "Novelists" display authors in their many exotic varieties of misery and neurosis .... The signal trait shared by Mr. Boyko's dreamy wretches is egotism; they rarely have the faintest idea what is actually going on around them. (In "The Word 'Genius,' " the author of Edwardian-era melodramas sees a physician about his ulcers and turns out to suffer from hunger pangs, having forgotten to eat.) "The Prize Jury" calamitously throws a baker's dozen of novelists together to choose the winner of the Godskriva Prize, a one-time award honoring "the best novel of all time." (Being invited to serve as a judge gives one writer pause: "Wouldn't his being on the jury disqualify his own novels from being chosen?") Mr. Boyko's ensemble of absurd, inexhaustible narcissists is no more flattering than Mr. St. Aubyn's ship of fools, but it comes uncomfortably nearer to reality.
I'd say you could read the full review online, but really, that'd be a fib, since the WSJ security-monkeys are pretty fierce. You'll have to trust that I've given you the best bits. Happy Saturday, all, and happy long weekend. (Novelists go well with beaches & beer. I swear.)

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