Thursday, June 08, 2006
3rd time lucky for Zadie Smith with "On Beauty" winning the Orange prize for fiction. It might sometimes seems that I'm not a fan of her writing, that would be unfair, their are few contemporary novelists I've avidly read their first 3 books. Whilst I like, sometimes love, her writing, I've drawn short of thinking them the masterpieces that the media insists on, that's all. I think, and hope she'll write a great book one of these days, but I don't think she has as yet. I find competitors Ali Smith and Sarah Walters not to my taste, though I'll no doubt persevere when I get the chance. My problem with "On Beauty" when I reviewed it on this blog, was how in love it is with the middle class collegiate life of its characters, rather than the characters themselves. Nobody in the book, except for the young black street poet, suffers from their errors, so its a strange kind of morality. The middle class may well be fearful of it all being taken away, and it may be unlikely that it ever will be (read a novel like Michael Bracewell's "The Conclave" or Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" for that), but it just strikes me as an odd preoccupation of a novelist. Perhaps I just like a bit more angst. I do like the sunshine, but it doesn't really like me - so I missed Dave Maass's leavetaking on Monday through hayfever; and getting caught in today's stifling heat led to a migraine that made me miss C.P. Lee's book launch at Urbis, for "I Swear I was There", about the legendary free trade hall, where I was also hoping to meet up with my old DJ partner Rupa Huq, who was up to promote her cultural studies book "Beyond Subculture". Next week sees the latest Transmission launch, as well as Michael Symons Roberts reading at the MMU. Tomorrow you can escape from the sun for the first of a series of student readings from MMU students at the Central Library.
Posted by Adrian Slatcher at 12:53 PM