Friday, 29 July 2005

In his weekly column A Week in Books the Independent's literary editor Boyd Tonkin describes Michael Dibdin as someone who, in his early books
made a nonsense of the distinction between "genre" and "literary" fiction.
Unfortunately Tonkin is less happy with Dibdin's latest, Back to Bologna. Indeed he goes so far as to say
You know that a crime writer has lost his way and his zest when a character prattles self-referentially ... about "a deconstruction of the realistic, plot-driven novel".
"A crime writer", eh? So all that stuff about making a nonsense of the distinction means what? The message is clear. When you are good you are a writer, but when you are not you're just a genre writer.

1 comment:

Miglior acque said...

Tonight I've just read Back to Bologna and I must admit that I do feel funny. I'm going to blog my own review but I've been holding off. I might even read it again before I do. It's a funny book, very ironic, very "post-modern" in the sort of campy Eco way. I enjoyed the satirical swipes at Eco, who deserves every single one, but the end leaves you feeling distinctly unclear about exactly "whodunnit". And that's part of the charm of the book is that it's unconventional. It's worth reading. Dibdin is clever, and writes beautifully. Dibdin has never been a "crime writer" in the way that say, PD James. His prose is simply too elevated, too well crafted, to fit comfortably into a category of crime. I want to say literature, but I'm conscious of the traps I'm blithely walking into here. Just read it!