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18/05/2008

Short Day dying

Among people who review books, there is an unspoken law that states that you should not demolish a novel, and that if you really don’t like it, you should simply keep quiet. That is precisely why I am not going to talk about Peter Hobbs’ The short Day dying. I will instead let you judge by yourself :

A light drizzle persistent in the air the same as yesterday but not leaving us too damp. It were a refreshing change to walk to my duties with the company of a friend the miles seemed shorter I felt a great energy rise through me as we talked. I were bursting with heat under my coat and hat I would have removed them if there had not been the rain and I had not needed my clothes clean to preach in.

It goes on like this for 197 pages. My feeling is one of overwhelming sadness. When so many good and very good writers cannot find a literary agent or a publisher, the author of this sort of gibberish seems to have had no trouble finding both. The publisher is no other than Faber & Faber.

There is worse : The short Day dying was shortlisted for the Whitbread Best First Novel award 2005. The lesson to be drawn is that if you want to be published and shortlisted for a major literary prize, you must first torture the English language, ignore grammar and punctuation, and express yourself with all the subtlety of a retarded yokel. Sad, very sad indeed.

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