Friday, January 13, 2006

Reviewing the reviewers ...

The Elegant Variation does just that in Compare and Contrast. I liked The Sea a lot, so naturally I'm inclined to agree with Rafferty in this. But I have to say I try myself, when reviewing a book, not to compare it to an author's other works, because I think each work should be judged on its own terms. It's not a hard and fast tule, though, just a rule of thumb. Rafferty certainly is a close and perceptive reader, which makes his review especially pleasurable to read.


  1. I'm just the opposite -- I usually compare an author's book to his other work. I still try to assess each book on its own merits, but I always think of them in terms of the author's career and the genre as a whole. (Maybe this is different since I do genre fiction?)

  2. Well, I certainly think it works better in genre fiction -- principally because (I think) form figures so largely in the equation.My main complaint about comparisons in reviews is that the author isn't given leave to depart from what he has done previously. Also, as an editor, it can get the reviewer spending more time showing off his knowledge than getting to the point of the book under review. Obviously, good reviewers know how to do just as much of it as is necessary.