Subscribe
Notify of
guest

22 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Madeleine Jones
Madeleine Jones
2 years ago

This is a good article. I have no interest in reading, er… Fuccboi (charming!) but I am interested in approaches to literature outside of self-deprecation / stream of consciousness / “social critiques.” As a woman immersed in writing circles, especially of the so-called ‘literary’ kind, I’ve noticed how boring contemporary literature is. The firebrands (Houellbecq, Karl Ove Knausgaard) do not write in English, and although I’m happy to read a translation, it’s hard not to mourn the dire state of Anglosphere letters. Also, I love writing men. Willing to shout this from the top of the Matterhorn. It’s helped me understand complex men in my life and in history. I dislike the taboo against ‘men writing women.’
Another interesting point this article rose relates to autism and ‘mental health’ identities. A nasty result of our diagnosis-keen culture are individuals who believe their pain is exceptional, more sympathetic and deserving greater attention than others. I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, Asperger’s, ADHD, depression and ‘low-self esteem disorder’ (Whatever that is). For a while, I believed no one could understand my pain, especially neurotypicals. I was wrong. Understanding that everyone hurts and life is not immune from suffering was a humbling experience. It actually made me a better sister, friend, daughter… and writer. The world isn’t divided into ‘neurotypicals / persecuted minority’ and ‘oppressors.’ Literature ought to assist us in navigating hardship, grief, suffering, peril.
Thanks for this article, Unherd.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

It is frequently commented that men are no good at writing women, but it’s far less frequently noted that women are not much good at writing women either, nor indeed much good at writing men. Very few authors at all are capable of writing plausible children.
The usual manner of failure is that the character comes over as how the (fe)male writer assumes a (wo)man – or child – ought to think. So female-written male characters notice the female characters’ hair, clothes, and shoes, and male-written female characters notice what engine the male character’s car has, and want to shag all the time.
I’m not a writer, so I don’t get why this is so, but it is. Daisy in The Great Gatsby is really quite wooden for someone who’s in the best novel of the 20th century. Diana Flyte in Brideshead Revisited is just a version of Sebastian that Evelyn Waugh would have slept with.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

My knowledge of this book will likely never extend beyond what I learned in this article, but I’m certainly struck by the quality of the article: intelligent and incisive.
That seems to be the state of modern literary fiction (I’m assuming Fuccboi qualifies as literary–even if Conroe himself doesn’t recognize it as such). Few people read the books but they spawn endless discussion and scholarship. It appears to be more important to have read the leading commentators than the original authors.
“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I have often thought a good book review is one that either persuades you to read a book, or persuades you not to do so. This review does a good job of the latter, not because it’s a bad review, but because it’s a good review of what’s clearly an ar53-wipingly bad book.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago

May I second the first two comments on this article: it’s an excellent piece and a fine example of the sort of material that persuaded me to subscribe to Unherd.
To be honest, I have always enjoyed Esther Manov’s writing, and this piece was especially fulfilling to read. Thank you for publishing work by genuinely smart and interesting people such as she: it’s hard to find these days (as the essay itself notes).

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

““side bae”, “ex bae”, “editor bae”, “peripheral bae”, “autonomous bae”
I’m not even 30 and these zoomers may as well be aliens to me.

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
2 years ago

I think it’s telling that most of the media discussion around this book has been about the profile and background of the author. The merit or otherwise of the book is of secondary (if any) importance. What a reflection of the age of identity.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

During all the BLM protests, a thing went around Facebook asking people to support Black authors by only buying their books and not books by white authors! My response was, if the book is good I’ll buy it regardless the colour of the authors skin! Who cares about the author beyond their ability to write when reading a book?
The literary world and the acting world are on the same slippery slope. This hysteria and gate keeping needs to end as it’s destroying creative freedoms which are needed to produce great works of art!

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Funnily enough, my Jacobean revenge tragedy The Senseless Counterfeit, which I wrote in 2015, features a character called Fucboi.

aaron david
aaron david
2 years ago

I spent the nineties in the book trade, new and used, management and buyer, scout and counter help. And around once a year, one of the publishing houses would announce a major new talent, some child prodigy. And after the book fails to earn its advance, that author would quietly fade away. Only to be replaced by the next pretty young thing, figuratively. They are looking for the next Chuch Palanuik, Donna Tartt; someone thoughtful AND approachable. Most writers have nowhere near the skills people like that have accumulated.
I am not saying anything about the literary quality of this novel, as it isn’t something I would be interested in, but one always has to remember that literary tastes change, what the concepts of acceptable literature forms changes, and there are always going to be people pushing those boundaries. And the critics will fail to realize that what they want is not what the public wants. Which, frankly, is more SF and romance, which are the bread and butter of the publishing world, much to its horror.
Oh, and by the way, this is an excellent review. More, please!

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 years ago

God this book sounds appalling, and the author and all his critics uneducated adolescents. I would be filled with despair, but I’m currently reading Olga Tokarczuk’s latest book to come out in English – The Books of Jacob – which reassures me that serious writing is still being done, albeit not it seems in the US.

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
2 years ago

Good review: this book will never darken my bookshelves.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Why is it that someone can be labeled half Japanese and yet not half African American?

Sally Owen
Sally Owen
2 years ago

Thank you! A great article.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 years ago

Love the absurd puffery of ‘this generation’. This generation, especially young men, don’t read fiction, let alone literary fiction. Why should they?

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago

Feels like this is a good example of Betteridge’s law of headlines.
I mean, of course, a whiny pretentious author I’d never heard of until clicking this link will plausibly kill stone cold dead an activity humans have partaken in one form or another since the invention of writing.

Koen Velazquez
Koen Velazquez
1 year ago

Very well presented. Every quote was awesome and thanks for sharing the content. Keep sharing and keep motivating others.

Juliet Gordon
Juliet Gordon
1 year ago

For the reason that the admin of this site is working, no uncertainty very quickly it will be renowned, due to its quality contents.

Jase Ponce
Jase Ponce
1 year ago

pret 500

Amya Barnes
Amya Barnes
1 year ago

Awesome! Its genuinely remarkable post, I have got much clear idea regarding from this post

Bail Process
Bail Process
1 year ago

You are so clever and candy.

Erica Perkins
Erica Perkins
1 year ago

I appreciate you sharing this blog post. Thanks Again. Cool.