Saturday, March 31, 2012

All for it...


  1. Paul Fussell wrote an essay about what he called the ABM, the "Author's Big Mistake", a letter of complaint about a review.

    There are always options, particularly for the novelist Anthony Burgess slipped unflattering references to the reviewer Geoffrey Grigson into a couple of novels at least (Abba, Abba and The End of the World News). And I would bet that it was a snide review from Peter De Vries that led Frank Herbert to name the bad-guy assassin in Dune Piter De Vries.

  2. I think it's okay to reply when the reviewer has blatantly misrepresented facts or clearly not read the book. I think one ought to do so civilly, however, with full knowledge going in that it could rebound on you. The best responses by writers to reviewers that I can recall were basically along the lines of, "No, what I actually said was this...." and "No, in fact it was 1962, not 1963...." That sort of calm correction. In other words, nothing about opinions, everything about fact-checking. You can't reply to an opinion, because it will always come down to taste. Towards a bad review based on opinion one must merely shrug.

    A lot of writer are tempted to respond to bad reviews in the heat of passion, which is almost always the wrong time to respond. Everybody escalates, no one wins.