Tuesday, January 30, 2007
When uncomfortable with a book, I wonder to myself — what is it that can be done? To overcome this? What exactly? The problem with reviewers, perhaps, is that they are not writers themselves. When X comes up and says that this part of so-and-so author’s book was unnecessary, I think such an opinion comes from not having written that book itself. Because when one actually sets out to write, what comes across on the page can’t possibly follow the logic of fitting a pre-conceived structure. Writing is akin to baring the soul on the page, reaching out to the self in its deepest manifestation, and producing words that can mirror one’s experience. There will be failures, no doubt, in encapsulating the truth, but it would still be an image of the person who pens them. Therefore, it is futile to criticise for stylistic inaccuracies, because that would be like criticising someone for a broken limb. It’s how they are. This also implies that inadequacies of description needn’t always stem from a lack of the writing technique. Perhaps the writer isn’t meant to write what an evolved reader expects. Or, one writer may not be equipped to write what a given reader looks forward to, because the two subscribe to fundamentally different worldviews.