"You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make [him] think"

Whatever you think of Yann Martel's plan to send the PM a book every other week, I think you'll agree that the most hilarious commentary on it is/will be from Nathan Whitlock. Being the cynic I am, I doubt Harper will even check out the covers, but I'm sure some of his staff with be happy with the free stuff.

Surprise, surprise, the book I'm currently slogging through, Arlington Park, made the Orange Prize shortlist. I gotta say, I'm a bit surprised. Especially given that the chairman of the judges (how ironic, you think they'd have called her the "chairperson"), Muriel Gray, wrote this back in March:
As a judge in this year's Orange prize, it's hard to ignore the sheer volume of thinly disguised autobiographical writing from women on small-scale domestic themes such as motherhood, boyfriend troubles and tiny family dramas. These writers appear to have forgotten the fundamental imperative of fiction writing. It's called making stuff up*.
I kind of love books like Arlington Park, if only because they prop up my child-free self, brush off my divorced-girl ego, and say "Hey look, you're not doing so bad. See what you could have wound up with?" It's a nice little fantasy, but knowing as many mamas as I do, I know the reality isn't as constantly grey as the author, Rachel Cusk, paints it. It's a roller-coaster, yes, but people with families are sometimes -- *gasp* -- happy. Then again, Cusk writes in, and about, England. It rains almost constantly in Arlington Park (not subtle!), and that can't be good for anyone's mood. Hell, this is the first sunny day we've had here in Toronto in what feels like weeks, and it's going a long way to elevate my mood.

*Full article, titled "Women authors must drop domestic themes" is here.

2 comments:

Milena said...

I haven't read the article wherein Martel announced his plan. My friend G said it was a riot and worth tracking down. I might, eventually. What do I think of the plan? I think that, as you say, his staff (the literate ones), will enjoy the free stuff. But other than that, I just don't see the point... I can't even finish a book in two weeks! Even when I was commuting up to three hours a day, I didn't have time. Then again, I do a lot of article reading online, and I write a lot... I also tend to read more than one book at a time. My point is, however, that as much a moron Harper is, he's still a busy moron... you know, off working on legislation to destroy the planet and cutting funding from the ministry of heritage and status of women's operating budget, or whatever. ARGH!

Panic said...

I haven't read the article wherein Martel announced his plan.
That link is actually the article, cut and pasted from the Globe. ;P