Now that the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is all but decided (see details about the shortlist here) I'm feeling the need to opinionate so, next week, I'll try to pick up the blogging baton again (not least because I want to write about the IFFP09 shortlist)...

In the meantime, Mr Mitchelmore is in superb form opinionating once again about Littell's The Kindly Ones:

The Kindly Ones is perhaps the first novel I have read and felt the need to write about before any hype kicked in. Had it been another, quieter publication, such as Tao Lin's Eeeee Eee Eeee or Thomas Glavinic's Night Work, then the review itself would have been enough. All three novels, however different and however removed from the vicious modernist circle familiar to this blog, prompted long attention because they opened a space making narrative possible, even necessary. Or, to put it another way, the space became palpable only through writing like this. Each review was an attempt to make this space clear and thereby to ease future readers into a different kind of reading than that practised elsewhere (more...)

Readers Comments

  1. The whole "kindly ones" episode and the critical response shows how important the critics job still is.

  2. Agreed.

    ... and shows that some of the best critics are online.

  3. ...and revealed some of the worst.

  4. revealed that some of the worst are online, that is... sigh.

  5. Oh, it did that too, for sure!

    MAO at The Complete Review seemed, finally, to come out as entirely clueless as a critic when faced with something that requires sensitivity and fine judgement. I wouldn't be without The Literary Saloon -- as a news medium for information about Finnish prize-winners, Arabic fiction, Kenyan books, Chinese literature etc. it is matchless. But gathering literary news and exhibiting critical acumen are, evidently, absolutely not the same thing!

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