Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Article excerpt

A.L. KENNEDY was on the wireless again the other day complaining about being a writer. Well, who said she was a writer?

I only ask because last year I tried to read a very small book by her, even taking it to the quiet of the North Riding. It was, I was sorry to discover, tremendously annoying, partly because she kept going on about being a writer. The subject was meant to be Bullfighting (Yellow Jersey Press, L10). By page 91 she is still asking, 'Why am I in Madrid?' You think it cannot get any worse; but on page 92 it does, when she starts about the man in her life.

I am not saying that it is impossible successfully to write about writing, about one's own feelings, and constantly to apostrophise the reader. But it is very difficult. The three characteristics I have just mentioned are meant to be typical of modernism, though they are present in Tristram Shandy, in much mediaeval writing and in some classical prose. To pull them off now, however, you need to have the sympathy of the reader. It became clear to me that A.L. Kennedy had lost mine early on when she describes a contemplated attempt at suicide and I found that I did not care much one way or another whether she jumped, if only she would just get on. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.