Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In which I'm so starved for attention...

... that I'll even link to a (mostly) negative review of Off Book. I'm not sure what's up with the universe these days, but this makes two reviews of my obscure, hard-to-find 2007 novel in as many months. What gives? This one comes courtesy of fellow blogspot blogger/CNQ contributor/thoughtful curmudgeon Brian Palmu, who knows his stuff and whose knives come rarely sheathed. Lord knows where he found a copy of the thing. Anyway, I find it hard to argue with anything he says - good (and there is some good) or bad - about the book. What to say? I was (and still am, frankly) a rookie with no mentor.

The one saving grace is that Palmu, like the previous reviewer, alludes with pleasant curiosity to the status of my Korean novel. Yes, it is completed; yes, I am trying to find a publisher; no, it hasn't been accepted yet; no, I haven't abandoned hope; yes, I am drinking more than I was this time last year. But so what? I also have a poetry manuscript I'm peddling around; I'm writing short stories again after a half-decade hiatus; I'm blog-reviewing pretty much every book I read; I'm freelancing; and I work a full-time office job. The planet rotates, you're 36 and this is what your life is.

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note: Have you, ahem, seen that Arc magazine has posted its shortlist for its $5,o00 'Poem of the Year' Prize? You have, ahem, until April 15 to go to the website and vote in the 'Readers Choice' portion of the award. And you should. Cough. Ahem. Yes, you really should.



  1. Enjoyed the novel, Mark, despite the formatting .. er, "challenges".

    Picked it up at Vancouver Main Branch Library. Hey, no need to thank me for the eventual huge Public Lending Right cheque!

  2. Thanks Brian. Much appreciated.

    Cool - I can see on the VPL website that a copy's checked out! Oh, this modern computer age...

  3. Mark, hi.

    The negative review is mostly about the publisher's inept handling of the text. But the part that deals with your actual work doesn't quote you at length and doesn't deal with your style, and substitutes plot summary for thorough criticism. This combination is common in print and on line, so that no one gets a real idea of what's going on in the book; they just get the story.

    You can safely place this review in the "inadequate" bin.

  4. The reviewer seems more interested in the publisher's shortcomings than the your skill as a writer. I enjoyed your novel, and I'm looking forward to hearing news that your next book will be on shelves soon.


  5. Thanks Bonnie. No news on the new book yet, but perhaps soon.