Kinda racist author Martin Amis got called out in the Guardian for being kinda racist against Muslims by author Ronan Bennett. But in a letter this week, airport-y author Ian McEwan totes has his back. "You may not like what you hear, but reasoned debate is the appropriate response, not vilification by means of overheated writing, an ugly defamatory graphic, and inflated, hysterical pull-quotes." Snap!
Ian McEwan, the serious literary yet still sort of airport-y author of Atonement, whose books all hinge on one dramatic moment when something terrible happens tells the Wall Street Journal today that his books don't all hinge on one dramatic moment when something terrible happens. "All it really says is that in my novels something happens. It got said, and then it got into the loop. It's a truism, really. It's true of any novel." Well, any novels that are made into big weepy holiday blockbusters.
Well, you have to hand it to the Crystal Leth, at least he's bringing something better than plot summary to the increasingly torpid Times Book Review. Lethem has the cover review, of Ian McEwan's novel(la) On Chesil Beach, in this week's Summer Reading issue, and he dives into close reading—yes, close reading—with what's, depending on one's view, either a cute bit of aw-shucks mixed metaphor or an atrocious bit of aw-shucks mixed metaphor that portends the wholesale dissolution of American letters:
It's been unclear whether the whole Ian McEwan kerfuffle—he's been accused of borrowing a little too liberally in his novel Atonement from the memoirs of a British romance novelist, who worked as a Nightingale nurse during WWII—would turn into a highbrow Kaavya Viswanathan situation, or would be quietly swept under the rug. In the Kaavya corner, we've had, well, no one. In the other corner, critics and authors (including Thomas Pynchon!) are practically tripping over themselves to defend McEwan. But just before the bell, here's Slate crusader Jack Shafer to tell you that no, we should not be sweeping this under the rug, and Ian McEwan is a very, very bad man. Oh, and all those critics and authors defending him? They're elitist fucks. Sayeth Shafer: