DWJ's Faults

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Mon Mar 11 22:36:18 EST 2002

On Tue, 12 Mar 2002 11:01:04 +0800 (WST), Paul Andinach wrote:

>On Mon, 11 Mar 2002, Elizabeth Parks wrote:
>> To build on a discussion--my friend just im'd me with the line
>> "DWJ can't write relationships, I've noticed."  AFter I stopped
>> sputtering, I demanded to know _what_ she was talking about: here
>> are bits I snipped:
>> "I've read about eight of the books and every relationship is
>> contrived and thrown together in the last quarter of the book."
>> Which made me feel sort of like someone had just said that Santa
>> Claus wasn't real.  Silly but true.  So I've been thinking--about
>> Hexwood especially--and wondered what you all had to say.
>I'm reminded of a guy I knew in high school who told me once that he
>preferred Piers Anthony to Terry Pratchett because Anthony had subtle,
>thoughful stuff in his books and Pratchett's books were just a string
>of obvious old jokes...
>Which is a roundabout way of saying that it's not DWJ's fault if your
>friend is too dumb to recognise subtle character development when she
>sees it.

Heh.  That's pretty much what I planned to say.  Is she a big fan of romance
novels?  If that's all she reads, no wonder she thinks DWJ's relationships
are contrived and last-minute.  :)  Seriously, though, ask her who she
thinks DOES do relationships well--get four or five authors from her.  You
can tell a LOT about people's reading tastes from the authors they revere.
(My short list: DWJ, Terry Pratchett, Steven Brust, Lois McMaster Bujold,
Connie Willis, Patricia McKillip.)

The only reason it's possible for us to have a long-winded discussion about
_The Thief_ is that everyone comes to a book with their own expectations
about what novels should be.  People whose experiences are very
shallow--either because they haven't read much at all or they haven't read a
wide variety of different books--sometimes dismiss anything that doesn't fit
their experience as Bad.  My mother-in-law, bless her, has strict Ideas
about what makes a good romance, which means there are a lot of really good
books that she purely hates.

So...sounds like your friend just hasn't reached a threshold of
enlightenment yet.  Cuddle that thought close and remember, Virginia, there
IS a Santa Claus....

Melissa Proffitt
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