Monday, January 18, 2010

JMWW Magazine reviews Too Many Magpies

In this quarter's issue of JMWW Magazine, editor Jen Michalski reviews Too Many Magpies. She has some nice things to say - 'a wonderful conceit, full of shiny, lyrical language and sophisticated structure ... really wonderful imagery and a sense of magic and science as equally mysterious forces in our lives', although she does have doubts about what she calls 'one weakness' which is the believability of the fact that the protagonist falls for her lover who Michalski says I portray as a 'walking vice.'

Of course I'm tempted to protest that that's the point - that the protagonist's attraction to such a man is a shock even to herself and against everything she stands for, and that the 'sophisticated' structure is intended precisely to explain it, by going back in time to show that she hasn't ever been as espoused to her professed world view as she has liked to think. But then of course, for all you know as the writer your writing doesn't work, and in any case it never will for everyone, and one just has to accept it when, for any particular person, it doesn't. Accept and learn. Add it to your arsenal. Next time I write anything I'll be more determined than ever to make everything as clear as possible without compromising my intentions....

And be grateful. Be very, very grateful. It's not that easy to get reviews on any prestigious literary platform nowadays, and I am seriously pleased to have this attention and serious consideration from a magazine that reviews only a dozen or so books a year.

4 comments:

SueG said...

Congrats on the review! I do sometimes think that a reviewer feels the need to say at least something critical so that it sounds "even handed." But in any case, I'm not sure it's a good idea to engage a reviewer in a dialogue, though it can be good to generally thank someone for the review. Just to show your appreciation...reviewers never get thanked, do they?

Elizabeth Baines said...

Absolutely: reviewers don't get thanked. And it really does take a lot of intellectual and creative effort to review a book - not to mention the time!

Debi said...

wot Sue said re even handedness. It's a good one, Elizabeth, celebrate it!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Yes, it is, Debi. One always worries too much about the negative bits, I think.