There is, it seems, one top critic on a major newspaper who is prepared to face the dreadful truth. Publishers Lunch provided the link to a piece by Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post.
Yardley tells us that 'the "literary" fiction being written in this country nowadays strikes me as so jejune, self-absorbed and lifeless that I am just about unable to read it, much less pass fair judgment on it.... Instead I find myself turning more and more to what is commonly dismissed by the literati as "popular" or "genre" fiction.'
Instead of struggling through the unreadable literary crap, Yardley has finally discovered John Grisham. 'Advised some years earlier that I'd find his work unreadable, I avoided it but finally decided that I couldn't go on ignoring one of the world's most popular novelists.'
This statement, mark you, is made by a man who is described at the foot of the article as the Washington Post's book critic. Not 'a' critic but 'the'. And he's only just got around to reading Grisham? Doesn't this man have some sort of duty to keep up?
Anyway, Yardley has now made the amazing discovery that Grisham knows what he's doing, which is more than can be said for some people. 'Boning up for his [Grisham's] new novel, The Broker, I read several of its predecessors and was astonished by how good they are.'
As usual, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.