Check out James Wood’s superb review of “The World Is What It Is”, Patrick French’s wonderful biography of VS Naipaul. I love the first paragraph.
George Packer also has a good review of the book here.
And while on books, I was fascinated by this image uploaded by Mark Sarvas of the plot chart of “Harlot’s Ghost”, Norman Mailer’s 1991 novel. Daunting.
Mailer’s considerable achievements include winning the Bad Sex Award, and this year’s winner has just been announced. Here’s the sentence that surely clinched it for Rachel Johnson’s “Shire Hell”:
As he nibbles and pulls with his mouth, his hands find my bush, and with light fingers he flutters about there, as if he is a moth caught inside a lampshade.
If I read that line before I lost my virginity, I’d probably have taken a vow of celibacy. I do take a vow, though, of never attempting to write a sex scene in my own books. Unless I’m taking the mickey out of it—no pun intended.
And to end this post with publishing news, some publishers are feeling the effects of the downturn—and some aren’t. Go, Hachette!