If ‘obnoxious’ is this fresh, include me in that narrative


Book talk

If ‘obnoxious’ is this fresh, include me in that narrative

What starts off as a straightforward story turns into something else altogether in this mind-blowing debut

Sunday Times Book Editor

I have received many what I consider bewildering readers’ responses to reviews or articles I have written over the years. When I worked at Heat magazine, one vociferous e-mail criticised me for describing Tom Cruise as “His Royal Shortness” in a movie review I wrote about Valkyrie. I just thought it was a flippant remark, a bit smart arsey, cheeky and fun and in no way did I think I would get a reader response like that, but I clearly hit a nerve. Strange thing is, I praised him in that movie. I too am a huge fan of his work. I don’t think there is a film of his I didn’t watch. I even made myself stay awake during the awful mehness and mess of Vanilla Sky. 

The second piece of “what the hell” correspondence was when I used the word postmodern in a review of a book. It was a tiny review, only about 60 words. The reader wrote that it was obnoxious. I don’t know if she was referring to the review, me, the book or the word itself.

I was thinking about this because I am reading the amazing True Story by Kate Reed Petty, an astonishing genre-bending novel with elements of postmodernism or as some would call it metamodernism or as some would call it post-postmodernism. It’s all confusing and totally obnoxious and I give the reader of my previous review totes cred if she hates on this as well. ..

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