Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Broken English

I knew I had to write the roof off the fucken world ...
says Dirty But Clean Pierre about writing his 2003 Booker winner Vernon God Little, a
... blistering assault on the no-brow superpower that gave the world the Big Mac, The Jerry Springer Show and the high-school massacre ...
(The book didn't go down very well on that side of the Atlantic, apparently: no American publisher would touch it!)

Jasper Rees interviews Pierre (self-confessed ex-drug addict, ex-conman author, sufferer from narcissistic personality disorder) in the Telegraph. His latest book is Ludmilla's Broken English about a pair of cojoined twins, separated after 33 years, and is set in a future dysptopian Britain.

What made Vernon God Little so exilarating was the sheer recklessness of the language (Yes, he did write the roof off the fucken world as far as I was concerned) but Neel Mukherjee in the Observer feels this this is where that Pierre falls short in his second novel, which is:
... let down by a prose-style mannered to the point of gratuitous murkiness. The whole novel feels as if it has been written first in a normal way, then each sentence tampered with to produce a style that could be thought of as original and strikingly different.
Second novels are so hard to write after the phonomenal success of a fluky first.

9 comments:

Sham said...

I enjoyed the book!

Jane Sunshine said...

Vernon God Little- just not my cup of tea...wayyyy too much f*** language. Wont bother with the new one either.

Cheeky Monkey said...

What's so nice about the book and what's not so nice about the book? I'm curious. I've not read it myself. I once attempted Never Let Me Go, and it didn't grab my attention at all. :P

Anonymous said...

But after a fluky first you'd have enough to live on for several lifetimes, so I guess the second isn't as urgently written (which might explain a lot, come to think of it.)

bibliobibuli said...

jane - bad language a-plenty. it doesn't bother me but it certianly did some readers. we read it in our book club and certainly some of the members felt very uncomfortable with it

cheeky monkey - no two people will ever see eye to eye on the same book - i loved this book because it was fresh and audacious - the writer took risks with langage - and i thought the lampooning of a dysfunctional america was delicious ... plot was not so tight in places though

'never let me go' was a book i enjoyed very much but my book club nearly killed me for inflicting it on them

cheeky monkey - browse around in bookshops - read the first few pages - see if you can get into the book and often you can read an extract online which might help you decide

anonymous - as far as money is concerned, perhaps ... but heck, are any of us in it for the money? ... your whole ego is probably bound up in staying where you are - at the top of the literary food chain. how many writers say to themselves - oh i just won the booker, time to take up knitting?

Anonymous said...

That's true.. but then again, how many of the past year's booker prize winners are still on the lists ? or even still writing ?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I hope you don't mind me being offensive about money. I mean, if I didn't hate money I'd not have been a writer :)

Seriously though, the country needs more writers, and I can survive. But I have to constantly justify it, and this is just one of the justifications. Every time I see someone in another profession and making tons of money, I think, that could be me, if I'd taken up some other profession. But this country DOES need more writers, so...

I reserve the right to be offensive to rich people, because, well, mostly writing is a quick ticket to the poorhouse, and I have to justify it somehow.

The Great Swifty said...

Yeap! I'm a writer! Just that i never got published! Oh the travesty! But then, I'm a writer filmmaker, so it's kinda different. Hohoh!

Anonymous said...

I have. But that's different, it's my job. If I wasn't published I'd be eating less than I am now :P