DWJ on Burgess [was YA/Children's/Adult Books]

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Mon Apr 28 05:10:29 EDT 2003

> I am treasuring DWJ commenting on a previous book of Burgess's, though I
> don't know which[1].  She was involved in a panel of some sort on I think
> the radio, and someone read out a passage from Burgess, and her reaction
> was invited.  Suppressing the urge to describe it as "paltry porn", she
> pointed out that he had a woman turned into a dog as an appropriate
> punishment for her promiscuity on the grounds that female dogs are all
> promiscuous, which, said DWJ firmly, "just shows how much *he* knows.
> Bitches aren't promiscuous: they come into season a couple of times a year
> for a few days and aren't interested at all for the rest of the time.  If
> he can't even get canine sexuality right why does anyone think he knows
> anything about human sexuality either?"

The Burgess book was _Lady: My Life as a Bitch_. Deborah has a link to the
intervew in another wing of Chrestomanci Castle, by the way. What really got
my goat about it was that Burgess was being presented as this mould-breaking
writer, and DWJ was brought on as (I quote) 'a more traditional children's
author', and a foil against which Burgess could shine. Grrr indeed!

Having said that, I'm not as cynical about MB as some - and I'm definitely
going to hold off comment on _Doing It_ until it's published! He's no way as
good (or as original) a writer as DWJ, of course, but he's  much subtler
than you'd guess from Fine's review. And the couple of times I met him (this
was before he got famous with _Junk_, mind) he seemed quite a genuine
person. He was even kind enough to read an unpublished MS of mine! (Don't
think he liked it much, though.)


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