james on snark

Clive James gives his two cents on “snarky” reviews (the most recent example of which is arguably Laura Miller’s review of Chuck Palahniuk’s Diary.) He offers something that, human nature being what I is, I think every writer should consider: “When you say a man writes badly, you are trying to hurt him. When you say it in words better than his, you have succeeded. It would be better to admit this fact, and admit that all adverse reviews are snarks to some degree, than to indulge the sentimental wish that malice might be debarred from the literary world.” Via Publishers’ Marketplace online newsletter.


One Response to “james on snark”

  1. Dud Says:

    Hard not to put this in a particular context, ie the slagging that James’ mate Martin Amis has been copping in the UK review pages for ‘Yellow Dog’. Some of that has definitely had a competitive, even Oedipal, edge – a lot of it comes from younger male English Amis manques. Amis himself had a nice line on this, pointing out that writing is the only art in which practitioner and critic share the same medium. No one goes and makes a film about how shit the latest Julia Roberts romcom is…

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