Once upon a time, the writing of books was part of a crowded and vigorous life producing sturdy, oak-like prose. Now, it it often performed by writers for whom it is an end in itself, and for whom the novel has become a strange kind of obsession. No harm in that for the best, of course, but for the majority, the exclusion of everyday concerns yields balsa-wood prose that's detached from the stuff of existence.
First novels used to be a cause for celebration. Now, more likely, it is the third, or even the fifth novel that signals the arrival of a new writer of consequence, someone whose creative stamina will stay the course.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Today's new writers lack life experience, argues Robert McCrum in The Observer.