Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sloppiness

A full review of Don DeLillo's Point Omega is below, but here are another couple of examples of, frankly, sloppy writing. Remember, this is a 117 page novella. You could proof read it in a couple of hours. How did these slip through?

There was an element of austere drama in the music, it placed Jerry outside the moment, in some larger surround, ahistorical, a man on a mission from God.


On a mission from God? That's Elwood in The Blues Brothers. DeLillo is reportedly a film fan, so he must surely know the line - it's repeated enough in the film - "We're on a mission from God."

It was like hearing that the earth had shifted on its axis, spinning night back into budding day.


The earth shifting on its axis is a monstrous cliche. A quick google of the phrase - the earth had shifted on its axis - brings up 19,000,000 hits. Even putting it in inverted commas - thus only bringing up hits with that exact formulation of words, including the pluperfect tense, brings up over 1000. Good writers shouldn't be using cliches like that.

The more I think about it, the more I get the feeling Point Omega is a quickly trotted-out piece of flimflam. Editors, you see, whatever happened to strong editors?

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