Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

With Malice Towards One

Say what you will about Khushwant Singh, his literary proclivities have always tended towards the, er, earthy. Here he is on Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking:

"It is about a woman coping with her husband’s death while their daughter is in the intensive care of a hospital. The husband collapses on the floor while having dinner and is almost certainly dead by the time he gets to hospital. She goes into prolix details about his condition, what caused his sudden collapse, the doctors’ opinions on the subject and medication they gave him in the hope of reviving him. It is the same approach to her daughter’s trauma. She tries to relive the past, goes over details of the places they visited, people they met, dinners and lunches they ate in different cities and countries. It is maudlin, repetitive and tedious."

His advice to readers? "...if you want to read only good books, take no notice of how well they are doing sales-wise and before you accept friends’ opinions, find out their credentials as judges of good writing."


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