Jonathan Pinnock - Writer of Stuff

NO SOONER THE WORD THAN THE FICTION

The Only Thing Worse Than Being Talked About (Part 2)

This week has (like most weeks, if the truth were told) been a bit of a roller-coaster. It started on a bit of a high with the news that one of Amy McLean’s (remember her video review?) lecturers, to whom she had lent her copy of Mrs Darcy, proceeded to mention it several times to a lecture hall full of several hundred students on Monday afternoon. Oddly, I’d noticed a definite spike in Amazon sales that afternoon (not that I check that often, oh no), but maybe I’m overanalysing.

Then on Tuesday, John “Florence and Giles” Harding posted this rather extraordinary tweet, which obviously made my day. Still no word, incidentally, from the Battling Baroness. I have resolved to boycott her book as a mark of protest.

And yesterday, Martha Williams put up this lovely review on Amazon. So that makes seven 5-star reviews. Which is obviously nice.

However, late last night the first dissenting view appeared, courtesy of The Gatehouse Gazette. Although to be honest, given how massively subjective comedy is, it could have been a lot worse. My only concern is that the reviewer seems to be saying at the end that she’d quite happily read a sequel, but only if it was written in an entirely different style. (Oh, and why is there never any such thing as a good pun?)

Ho hum. Onwards and upwards…

4 Comments

  1. Did you hear Front Row last night? PD James was on, talking about Death Comes to Pemberley. Mark Lawson mentioned “all the other” sequels out there, and by the way the Baroness took great pains not to mention your book, you can tell she’s running scared.

    The Gatehouse Gazette isn’t a terrible review – as you say humour is entirely subjective, and that’s the focus of the criticism, not the prose or the storytelling. And even that can’t be all bad if some parts “cracked [the reviewer] up” and others were “frankly hilarious”.

    I’m yet to read a book, see a film or even a sketch show where all the jokes work. I don’t think it can be done – it’s part of the nature of humour that things appeal to different people at different times. The same type of joke over and over again would be boring, whereas using a variety of techniques inevitably introduces a few duds (subjectively speaking).

    Incidentally, I’m only a few chapters into MDvtA, but it’s a thumbs-up from me so far.

  2. admin

    November 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for that, Dan :) That’s exactly it with humour. My approach with Mrs D was essentially to use the Fast Show technique of chucking a load of different stuff at the reader so that if some of it didn’t quite work, then it didn’t matter because something else would be along in a minute. Maybe some people could find that irritating, though. Still, glad you’re enjoying it :)

    As for that PD James, you’re right. It’s as if she’s deliberately avoiding mentioning Mrs D…

  3. I was chatting on Twitter today about “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. I was saying that (despite the fact I know it ha been critically acclaimed and what’s more turned into a film) I’m finding it ‘hard to get into’ because of style issues. What was very interesting was that those who replied were massively divided, I mean really on LOVE/HATE lines by thus book. And I thought to myself, one day, that’ll be my book they’re talking about. I think that perhaps having a mix of reviews is healthy and normal, because we’re all individuals (except me). Having consistently pants reviews, now that would be crappy.
    Bon courage with your rollercoaster!

  4. admin

    November 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Exactly! Ideally, I think i’d like a mix of 5* and 1* reviews (biased in favour of 5*, of course). But any attention is better than none :)

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