My Latest Grievance
by Elinor Lipman, a review from Washington Post Book World by Fay Weldon.
"Elinor Lipman is a far more serious novelist than she pretends to be or is allowed to be by reviewers. (I learned a long time ago that to be taken seriously you need to cut back on the funny lines. I once all but won the Booker Prize for a novel from which, on Kingsley Amis's advice, I had removed anything remotely mirthful. Alas, it was still 'all but,' so I reverted to my old ways.) Lipman, declining to learn this worldly wisdom, goes on making jokes and therefore tends to get described with adjectives that are good for sales but bad for literary reputations: 'oddball,' 'hilarious,' 'over-the-top,' 'quirky,' 'beguiling' or, worst of all, 'summer reading.' The prose slips down too easily and pleasantly to allow her to rise into the literary top division, where the adjectives become 'piercing,' 'important,' 'profound,' 'significant,' 'lyrical,' 'innovative' and so on. Dull, in fact." Read the entire Washington Post Book World review.