Wow. Crumbs. And more of the same.
I knew there were readers out there who read books carefully. For example, I once took a novel by Ken Follett out of my local library. It seemed OK to me, but some previous reader had been through it and marked up all the mistakes and inconsistencies in stated times, colour of characters' eyes, and all like that. I had noticed none of these things, because I whizz through books pretty quickly, but this reader had been concentrating. And had remembered.
And now the blogger Thomas (Anatomy of Melancholy) has provided a link to his piece of 12 October last about Elizabeth Kostova's novel The Historian. In what is quite a lengthy essay, Thomas analyses the quality of the writing in just the first six pages of The Historian, and finds it severely wanting. Not exactly a good advert for MFA degrees, he decides.
As a master-class in close reading and clear thinking, Thomas's essay is pretty damn impressive. But it's also worrying for those of us who fear that perhaps our own work might be just as sloppy.