Novel of the week: Sour Grapes by Dan Rhodes
In 2017, Dan Rhodes “severed all ties” with his longtime publisher Canongate following a dispute over missing royalties, David Sexton said in Sunday Times. Her new novel is an act of revenge, targeting “the entire book trade”.
In the village of Big Bottom, an “absurd literary festival” is organized – to which comes Wilberforce Selfram, a “tall and cadaveric writer” known for using absurdly long words and for having uttered everything as “symptomatic of a wide cultural malaise” . The fun is carried to various other literary eminencies: JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie, festival director Peter Florence. “The effect is just hilarious”: I read this novel in one go, “laughing like a banshee”.
It didn’t have that effect on me, said Adam Roberts in The Guardian. The satire seems very outdated and the overwhelming focus on the character of Will Self “unbalances the whole”.
Yes, it’s cartoonish and rather uneven, Rosemary Goring said in the Scottish herald. But it is a “pleasant game” – one which “nails many pretensions, notably the exaggerated sense of self-sufficiency of the literati”.
Lightning 384pp £ 14.99; Bookstore of the week £ 11.99
Bookstore of the week
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