Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Joshua Ferris on Negative Reviews of The Unnamed

Thanks, Abby, for this link. It is Joshua Ferris' response to the less than favorable reviews he has been getting on The Unnamed, including The New York Times review that I referenced here.


  1. This comment...

    I think that there have been displays of an impoverished reading of the book. I get the distinct feeling at times that certain critics have not risen above a 10th grade level of reading and that they approached the book with expectations of preconceived notions that then drive a very boneheaded reading.

    ...virtually guarantees future negative reviews.

    I'm reminded of the adversarial relationship which must exist between M. Night Shyamalan and his critics, as in his movie Lady in the Water it is a critic who gets eaten!

    As one whose job requires me to put creative material 'out there' for 'consumption', I'm intrigued by the balance a writer must strike to write that which is true to himself, but also for an audience, among whom are those who aren't going to like what he does. Not a pleasant place for the sensitive. Sounds as if Mr. Ferris handles it well.

  2. Looking forward to reading The Unnamed. It is funny, but the NYT piece reminded me of some of my undergrad lit classes where the students would show up to a discussion of An American Tragedy or Madame Bovary and say things like: "These characters are so unreal." "I didn't like the book, it didn't keep my interest." or even "He/She was so stupid to do all that." Unfortunately, you expect more from a NYT's book reviewer.