Since Kevin and Booksquare have picked up on the Wall Street Journal’s attempt at rationalizing publishing success, I’ll give it a shot. I read The Historian. My review of it is available at Backspace. The thing I enjoyed about the novel was the author’s blatant disregard for current fashion, the slow pace, which, like an English bulldog, is ugly and lovable all at once. In my warped view I thought Elizabeth Kostova showed a certain chutzpah, perhaps even a satirical undertone in the way she went about the business of layering her novel with elegant details that did nothing to further the story. Given Kostova’s status as a debut novelist, it is amazing that her editor went along for the ride, yet if she hadn’t, the whole device might have dissolved into something akin to Buffy Does Istanbul.
On the flip side, we have The Traveler, a book Kevin reviewed. Steve Rubin at Doubleday is convinced that “we didn’t need our author prepub.” I think you did, Steve. Mr. Twelve Hawks needed to be squeezing his mug into that 8:50 time slot when Katie Couric cannot drink anymore coffee and it’s time to talk books. Sure everyone has left the house, but the television is still on. Maybe the yard service guys might have pressed their noses against the family room slider and thought, ‘yeah, I’m gonna buy that book.’
But Twelve Hawks lives off the grid. He’s reclusive. He didn’t hit a home run, and just beat the tag for a double. Not bad for a guy who refuses to leave the house.