Orwell Wrote Other Books Besides 1984, You Know

We haven’t had a “Maslin Watch” here in ages, because life is too short to put myself through that kind of torture on a regular basis, but her review of the new John Twelve Hawks novel snuck up on my RSS reader with its craziness:

“When a series starts off as excitingly as John Twelve Hawks’s Fourth Realm Trilogy did, readers are apt to cut the author’s next installments a little slack. After all, once an imaginary world springs full-blown from a writer, follow-up fatigue is to be expected. It’s natural to find an author ensnared by his own fanciful creations. Having leapt so high in the first place, the writer is left facing a steep climb.”

I’m like, hello? We’re talking about the same John Twelve Hawks, right? The one with the debut novel that most critics agreed was pretty god-awful? But then I realized, Janet Maslin isn’t most critics. Although she’s not working particularly hard at it, either: The Traveler was described as “a true Orwellian synthesis of the world’s ills,” and for her review of The Dark River, she goes on about the “red-hot Orwellian paranoid fantasies” Twelve Hawks crafts. Here’s a tip for the copyeditor at the Times desk: if a book reviewer calls something “Orwellian,” you don’t need to clarify that with “paranoid.” And a tip for Maslin: There are other authors in the world who deal with the oppressive condition of modern existence.

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26 July 2007 | uncategorized |