Sunday, December 21, 2008

Left on the Shelf

Kate Figues in the Guardian lists the books that deserved to be greater commercial successes this year - among them Evening is the Whole Day. Nicholas Pearson, Preeta's publisher says of it:
We had huge in-house support and encouraging praise from other writers, the sort of noise that persuades a hopeful publisher that we might do that most difficult thing: get a first novel out of the blocks and into the readers' hands, where it belongs. Reviews were good but not extensive. Sales were poor. None of this dissuades me from the belief that we have the makings of a great writing career here.
Let's hope this gives the book a bit more of a boost.


Anonymous said...

there have been so much praise for preeta's book that i 'almost' feel like reading it. but one look at the paperback cover i go 'oh no! a book for women!' no men will carry a book with that cover illustration.

i wonder if there are any men reading that book.

ah pong

bibliobibuli said...

what a narrow-minded reaction! oh and yes there are plenty of men who have read an enjoyed this book including quite a number who read this blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I found the book plodding and overly pretentious in parts. I can't visualize the prose, it's convoluted. For instance, "not-so-voluminous" could have been replaced with "scanty" or "skimpy". Also I feel that some sentences are too long. Another thing is that some sentences "sound" wrong. Take for instance "In truth, though, there are days that do not blaze and rains less fierce". I'm not sure what the author meant here at all. The rhythm and cadence of the sentence seems off, like it was castrated with a dull knife (sorry :))

"In truth, though, life was not always sun and flood."

How about that ?

I think writers should think less about showing off (see how many big words I can use !) and more about telling a story.

I'm probably very old fashioned about it, but I think writers should tempt and bait readers. Think about good first lines..

"Aunt Polly, my sore toe's MORTIFIED!"

Straight away you're thinking, "what the..?" and then you want to read more, because you want to know what happens. You're hooked by that, pulled into a little boy's adventure.

This book reminds me a lot of "Lord of the Rings". I couldn't get through that one either, because the language was so meandering.

The book needs a better editor. "Malaysian Airline System aeroplane" just doesn't sound right. Most people I think would have used "Malaysian Airlines flight".

In some sentences, the tense changes mid-sentence. It really could have done with a better editor.

Anonymous said...

To oontinue :

This is the first time I've ever read "whereas" in a work of fiction. It makes the book read a little like a legal contract :P

Anonymous said...

More to continue :

It gets better as it goes along. If this was a bookstore I'd have stopped reading on the first page though.

Anonymous said...

Last post :

It gets MUCH better as it goes along. The first few pages are draggy and plodding and awkward, but after that it works very well. Who in a bookshop would read past the first few pages though?

bibliobibuli said...

Delete Comment From: Bibliobibuli

Blogger bibliobibuli said...

the first page was such a delight i read it several times before i could even go on to the second

your comments, anon, are downright bitchy. are you sure you aren't in a sense jealous ... ?

Anonymous said...

I think it's a book that appealed more to Malaysians than foreign readers. I liked it very much and Preeta is extremely talented. Just didn't like the combined-words effect ("Chineseindianmalay") and the minor twist. But these are small personal dislikes.

- Poppadumdum

Burhan said...

A Public Space (without much doubt the best new lit mag at the moment) had a piece by her, which i liked.

Anonymous said...

but it's true. if a book cover has a picture of a hand bag on pink background... not sure if too many men will pick that up (except perhaps, people like dame edna everage/barry humphries).

and unfortunately for me at least the title of preeta's book sounds a bit feminine and coupled with that cover...evening is the whole day: if i don't know better I'd think this is one of those silly romance books or chick lit.

which is an irony really because hers is nothing like it and preeta sounds very combative in her comments in this blog. she has balls...figuratively speaking of course.

ah pong

bibliobibuli said...

"evening is the whole day" is a line from an indian poem from a classic tamil poem. what is unduly feminine about that? and even if the line did reflect a feminine identity, what would be wrong with that??

friend, i think you have a problem.

Anonymous said...

i think so.
ah pong

Anonymous said...

I loved the book but a couple of people I know thought it was just too meandering and yes, that some of the long sentences didn't work ie trying too hard. Anon has a point and I respect that.

I of course can only gush about this book which I will one day pass to my children to read and savour as a real slice of Malaysiana. Jane Sunshine.