2 days ago
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Yann Martel recently got slammed by reviewers for his most recent novel Beatrice and Virgil. I haven't read it yet, and I'm honestly not sure that I'll buy my own copy now that I've heard that it's supposedly such a festering turd of a book. The reviews in question (NY Times & Edward Champion) encited a discussion in class of the classic question: is all publicity good publicity? "Not if you're in the paper for being a pedophile," whispered my friend Liz. Thanks for the insight Liz, that was really deep. In the case of this book review though, I don't think so. The consensus in class, however, was that because the book is purported to be so atrocious, most people want to read it to see for themselves. But this is a class of curious bibliophiles- will the general public feel the same? I anticipate these reviews to have the same effects as a crushing movie review. If everyone is telling you how awful the movie (or book) is, you're not likely to waste your time and money just to see what the fuss was about. Many people buy books based on heartfelt recommendations and glowing reviews, and they use these tools as means to avoid wasting their time with a boring/unspiring read. Despite these sensational reviews, I doubt people will buy the book just to see for themselves how dreadful and pathetic it may be. And as for "all publicity is good publicity", that may be true for celebrity scandals, but when a critic says your book is "the literary equivalent to being completely submerged into a vat of shit," that's actually not so great.