Friday, February 22, 2008


Far be it to suggest that a guy who dishes it out like Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette better be able to take it in kind.

Todd, who apparently believes a professional writer composing a blog entry is on the same level as a teenager sending a text mesage -- is something less than Swift when it comes to a more traditional form of communication. His forthcoming first novel, Sun Going Down, was described by Quill & Quire as "a long, rambling tale set against the settlement of the American midwest" -- and that was about the most complimentary part of the review in their March edition.

The novel is heavily plot-driven, but it is difficult for the reader to care for the characters, as they are allowed little in the way of internal dialogue. They do things to advance the plot, rather than because of who they are.

... Some descriptions jar -- the sun rises "like a rotten tangerine over a molten river" -- and others are simply strange -- a catfish breaches the river's surface for a "toothful of dragonfly."

Occasionally, even the action is overdone -- is is hard, for example, to see how a man with a gouge in his biceps the size of "a turkey egg," a broken forearm with "a jagged edge of bone" poking through, as well as cracked ribs, manages to keep fighting and even get his opponent in a "death grip."
Hey, you can't say "historically, epically bad" without "historic epic." Now, some blogger types would fight back by saying there's not much difference in literary quality between Jack Todd's foray into fiction and a teenager's text messages.

But that's simply not true. At 450 pages, Sun Going Down will make a much better paperweight than your daughter's cellphone.


Dennis Prouse said...

Gee, do you think that as a middle aged white guy, he doesn't "get" new media, feels threatened by it, and is simply lashing out in fear? Nah, can't be.

Anonymous said...

hehehe... nice one Dennis. :)

God, Todd's book seems like a very nice door stop - I wouldn't trade it for a delicious danish (if you get that reference, I'm impressed).