Friday, November 13, 2009

Not getting it

I have just re-read one of my favourite books – Breathing Lessons, by Anne Tyler ( to see how she did it.) And this morning, I was checking something else out on amazon.com and thought I’d take a peek at  what readers had said about Breathing Lessons. Most people loved it – no surprise there -  but there was the odd one that exploded my head …e.g.

“Well, I still don't get what the big deal about Anne Tyler is, and I'm baffled as to why this novel received the Pulitzer. It's dull and not particularly well-written--an average novel about some very average people.”

Well, OK, if she doesn’t like the book and its subject matter, but it's ignorant to say that Anne Tyler doesn’t write well. I don’t know why I expect people who comment on books online to say intelligent things. Why do I?

5 comments:

shafia said...

I really like Anne Tyler and have read most of her books, but I also understand why someone might not enjoy them. Alot of her books don't have like a major storyline that is shocking/sad/scary etc etc...so I get it is all I'm saying!!

I must say, I felt the same way about Kiran Desai's "The inheritence of loss" which won the Man Booker prize in 2006....

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Shafia, I understand totally why someone might not enjoy AT's books - each to her taste. What I was trying to say was...if a reader does not enjoy a book, it does not therefore follow that the author doesn't write well.
I could not get on with "The Inheritance of Loss" either, and if we're into confessions (!) I didn't like "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian." I thought the humour was cruel.

Sue Hepworth said...

p.s. I am not saying the book was a bad book, just that I didn't like it, because I don't like cruel humour.

diane s said...

I can't get into Anne Tyler either (so far, although I've tried more than once) but so many people love her I assume it must be me, not her...

I enjoyed A Short History... but I didn't find it funny, I just found it very poignant. (Maybe the humour was cruel and I just didn't realise.) x

Sue Hepworth said...

You do have to be in the right kind of mood for Anne Tyler. I have been in an un-Anne-Tyler-ish mood for a year or two. Maybe you picked the wrong novels to try, Diane. I didn't like her "Digging to America." But she has written so many gems. If you ever want to try again, Diane, try "Patchwork Planet" which is easy to get into and, unusually for Tyler, has an ingenious plot.