Saturday, May 9, 2009

A family romance

Ah, I believe I’ve found a kindred in the old dame A. S. Byatt. Somehow her deflating 2003 review of Harry Potter managed to pass me by. Here is a snatch:

“Auden and Tolkien wrote about the skills of inventing ‘secondary worlds’. Ms. Rowling's world is a secondary secondary world, made up of intelligently patchworked derivative motifs from all sorts of children's literature”.

Neatly wrapped contempt within lolly-pink foil. She goes on to say sans wrapping:

“Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, 'only personal' .”

I loathe J. K. Rowling and think she should be shearing her royalty cheques into strips to mete out to the likes of Susan Cooper and the estates of Roald Dahl and Tolkien.

Thanks, Antonia. I may now look upon your new novel beyond simply remarking that its jacket could be confused with one of Rushdie's chromatic muddlings.


  1. While working in a book shop some time ago, I cringed in horror and embarrassment as one of the other staff members boasted to customers that she had read every single book in the Harry Potter series. Such a self validating statement!

  2. Grrrrrrrrr.. Harry Potter.. Grrrrrrrrr. J.K. Rowling Oh how I hate thou.