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Falling standards in literature

I recently started reading Colm McCann's Let the Great World Spin. I only got a few pages in before I decided I couldn't read any further. I found the writing to be slightly careless and not up to scratch in too many places; and found myself being too often aware of the writer writing (badly, at times) and the editor (not) editing: not what you want when you're trying to lose yourself in a good book. So, although I understand from others the book gets going eventually & has many commendable qualities, I won't be discovering them for myself. It would be a silent protest against sloppy writing & low editing standards, but for the fact that I plan to write a critique of the few pages I have read, and in the meantime I present the thoughts that I have thunk since delving into McCann's work:
Publishing companies need to make lots of money to keep their owners in the luxury to which they have become accustomed
The cheaper it is to package up a book ready for market the better
Editors are under pressure to find marketable writers and turn out award-winning or attention-grabbing books quickly
Minimal editing is done when the author is a BIG name or the subject is in VOGUE
Reviewers & awards committee members (many of them writers or would-be writers for the same publishing houses) only receive material from said publishing houses & so don’t recognise a drop in standards, or are reluctant to acknowledge it
The general public are led by the reviews & shortlists & awards and so begin not to recognise sloppy writing or see the falling standards of writing & story telling generally
This makes life easier for the publishing houses who can then churn out poor quality literature, faster, and still get the sales they need

1 comment:

Eoiny said...

Totally agree. I sometimes feel an 'Emperor's new clothes' vibe when attempting to read big name, big buzz novels. Glad to know it's not just me that finds some of this stuff unreadable.