Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Odd, but, hey, he calls me 'Austen-esque.'

This is possibly the oddest review I have ever received and begs the question: why was this particular critic, who clearly neither likes nor is familiar with this "prosaic genre,"was assigned this book. (I also wonder why, for all his own fastidious prose, he could not get the name of my protagonist right.) Still, I don't mind being called "Austen-esque," even in this backhanded way.

"Dulcie Swartz is not a modern Miss Marple, nor is she, heavens forbid, another Jessica Fletcher. She occupies a unique niche in the regiment of nosy, busybody, female would-be detectives: she is a third-year Harvard grad student of eighteenth century gothic novels and, as such, brings a higher intellectual dimension to this prosaic genre. The narrative voice is accomplished, measured, and professional. The style is ├╝ber-descriptive, painting baroquely elaborate word-pictures of places and people and even thought processes.
There is something that is vaguely Austen-esque about Clea Simon’s writing in its use of carefully structured sentences and grammatically fastidious prose. ... Ultimately, perhaps like Harvard itself, Grey Matters lives somewhere cerebral, above mere storytelling, in a lycean realm of excruciating whys, wherefores, and if-onlys."
Confession: I had to look up "lycean." Does he mean theatrical? I'm still not sure.
From the New York Journal of Books, a new online publication. And there is more, some of it much less nice – including a bit that seems to imply that the critic doesn't understand that indoor cats use litterboxes. As I said, odd.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Clea, I'm in the middle of reading "Grey Matters" (I have just reached p. 50) and just read the review. It sounds to me that the author basically wanted to demonstrate his superior literary pedigree by running down your book. Just don't fret about it, ok? I thoroughly enjoy your book, and that is the only thing that counts for me (and this comes from someone who holds an M.A. degree in American Lit). Keep up the great work, and start thinking about the third book in the series!!! -- Katha