Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Most overrated books

Here's another summer filler, Slate's look at the most over-rated books. Not really any great surprises - the ones people usually think are over-rated are the difficult ones that take getting into, hence Ulysses, Under The Volcano, The Sound and the Fury et al.

I don't know, it's difficult. I think I'd have to go for the collected works of Ian McEwan. He started out as a dazzling stylist, but with the suspicion of more style than substance. Latterly, he's descended into middle-aged dreariness. And for a single book, I'd have to say Ishiguro's The Unconsoled, in which he tried (bravely) to do something different and made a complete hash of it. But when he sorted the technique, in When We Were Orphans, it works brilliantly.

As a school, I find the current crop of Irish literary types insufferable. Anne Enright, Sebastian Barry, John Banville - all that florid language, all that horrible over-writing.


mel u said...

I feel the same way about John Banville

Tom Conoboy said...

Hi Mel. I've never managed to get to the end of a Banville.

Just read your blog post on The Plague. It's one of my favourite books and I intend to re-read it soon, so I was interested in your comments, particularly the idea that Camus captured the sense of alienation that people felt in the post-war eya when all that they have believed right was swept away. That's an interesting point.