Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Just in case you thought my previous post was dogmatic

I'm following the hint at Caleb Crain's blog: "'It would be nice if more blogs would link to my Alice Munro profile,' said Peter, wistfully. While I am obliging, here's a more permanent link to Peter's Alan Hollinghurst interview, too."

And since it didn't copy, here's the Hollinghurst

It's a very good piece. I must confess I have done the terrible thing and read the final section of The Line of Beauty without having finished the middle section! (I always terribly have the temptation to look at the end.) So I should finish the whole thing before I post. But... Alan Hollinghurst is very brilliant, but to me there's some failure of imagination about his books. My idiot way of expressing it is that I want him to write about more likeable protagonists, which is hardly a very fair or intelligent suggestion. But there is some broader question about character in the novel that I can't quite articulate. This guy is so, so smart, as smart as you can imagine someone being (as smart as Henry James!) and yet there is some quite near limit to what he can imagine in terms of a character to focus the narrative around. I think he's a sort of genius. But I want him to keep pushing and see if he can't write something that will not have this sort of emotional cautiousness about it.

It's a really good novel. Read it. I don't think I could possibly write one as good, not in this vein, not at all really. And yet it doesn't have the appeal to me of, oh, The Time of Our Singing, by Richard Powers.

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