Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another review for Sam Bourne

On 17 March, it was noted here that The Righteous Men, by Sam Bourne, had received, so far, only one review by a major newspaper. This despite the fact that Sam Bourne is the pseudonym of the Guardian's political correspondent Jonathan Freedland. Furthermore, said review was distinctly sniffy.

Well, now there is another review. It's written by Matilda Lisle, and it appeared in the Observer, which is the Guardian's sister paper (Sundays only).

Sadly, Matilda Lisle didn't like The Righteous Men much either, describing it as 'an overly familiar and overly silly collision of codes, cabals and conspiracies'. She concludes: 'It isn't much of a book,' but adds that it is not the worst of its kind, and Jonathan Freedlan really ought to have put his proper name to it.

Which is odd really, because the Observer tells us that Matilda Lisle is the nom de plume for an Observer staff writer. And this week's Private Eye reveals that Matilda Lisle is actually Alex Clark, assistant literary editor of the Observer (and female, if you're wondering).

Dear, dear me. This is all very distressing, for reasons which were discussed last time, were expanded upon in the comments section, and which need not be further rehearsed here. All of this is not, one feels, entirely appropriate for a book which earned a six-figure advance, and is agented by the famous Mr Jonny Geller, a man of impeccable judgement.


Anonymous said...

You neglect to mention that Freedland also got a cover story and serialisation in the Guardian magazine for his previous book, Jacob's Gift. The work is one of, no doubt, universal relevance about growing up in a bourgeois North London Jewish household, occasioned by the birth of the author's son (who will presumably get his own job on the Guardian when he comes of age).

For another instance of the Guardian keeping it in the family:

Anonymous said...

I found this book in the 'discards' bin thinking there might be something good here.


After the FIRST chapter I could NOT believe how infantile the writing was! I got through the second chapter just to give it a further chance; it was however, as breathtakingly bad.

I have never gone to the net to find out about an author at this point, but the flagrant ineptness of the wrting behooved me to do so.

If you want to know how bad BAD writing can be, then buy this book (but only from a discard bin).

Anonymous said...

I wish I could get over being raised during the post-war austerity period - it means that having bought a book, I usually struggle on to the end, no matter how turgid. I chanced upon The Chosen One - and this book is truly awful. Outrageously silly plot lines, feeble structure and dire characterisation - but this gets so bad that I suspect even Richard & Judy will not reach the end....