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28 May 2006

self-congratulatory post

Joan was reviewed in The Age yesterday. This is my favourite bit:

Wilkinson never condescends to her young readers but her history is accessible and interesting. Surely a dream come true for any history teacher.

I very much like the "never condescends" bit, because that's something I feel very strongly about. However, the last sentence means that any young person reading the review will be immediately turned off, but how many young people read the literary pages of The Age anyway? Let's face it, there's not much for them there. Still, a message to any brave young thing daring to venture past the reviews of architectural theory books and histories of the first world war: in Joan there are also some gruesome battles, and references to tuberculosis of the brain brought on by drinking unpasteurised cow's milk. And pants. Pants are very important.

I like being referred to as "Wilkinson". Makes me feel very grown up.


snaz said...

Only parts of you are grown up, Lovely Lili. Your outside parts and your brain parts. Your imagination, curiousity and sense of fun will always remain childlike. It's the same for all good storytellers, don't you think?

Anyhoo, congrats on the great review!

And I'm right there with you on the not being condescending thing.

I always aim to respect the intelligence of my audience (in the cases when I have full creative control over the work, anyway!) because the texts that I most enjoy (whether it be journalism, TV narrative, novels, whatever) are the ones I find challenging and intriguing. I like to trust that the writer knows more about his/her subject than I do. I enjoy the race to catch up to him/her and, ultimately, the feeling of being rewarded for my curiousity. In these cases I rarely think about the writer him/herself until I turn the final page, or until after the credits roll.

And that's a very good thing, because if I ever sense the writer's presence during the test itself it's usually because the writing is inadvertantly on the nose (*cough* Dan Brown *cough*) or, much worse, I feel that writer is consciously censoring the work, or pandering to their audience (or rather what they imagine their audience to be). Nothing makes me madder.

Justine Larbalestier said...