Steve Mitchelmore, the finest writer we have in the literary blogosphere, has an excellent article in this week's TLS (sadly not online) reviewing Javier Marias's bloated and over-rated Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream. For those who don't have access to the paper, whet your appetite by reading Steve on Rankin and Proust.

Steve is the only writer I know who can meaningfully bring together a genre hack like Ian Rankin and the freakish genius that was Proust, via Blanchot, and make uncommonly good sense:

This is why I am so wary of books that tend to rely on the art of previous writers, that do not make the language subject to the unique inspiration and ambition of the book it forms. They are too rhetorical and crime (and other genre) novels are, by definition, mainly rhetorical works. While Rankin's eighth novel cannot be on a par with Proust's (if only because the anger is added colour rather than intrinsic to its creation), it perhaps suggests in both cases a desire among readers for something more than routine entertainment, for more than the author to do "a good professional job for the reader". They want the real thing.

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