(2012-08-22 6:50 AM)
Blood Meridian Or The Evening Redness In The West By Cormac McCarthy is a simple book. Relatively slim, lacnikg even the ornateness of punctuation, and thrusting its story forward like a bayonet into your chest. It is also a profound, intensely moving and literate novel.So yes, simple doesn't mean stupid. Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Chandler, not to mention more contemporary writers, are proof of this. But their work is at the same time brimming with intelligence of one sort or the other, parred down to deliver visceral blows to the reader.The Da Vinci Code is on the other hand, a near textbook example of poor writing and bad ideas conflated by a popular appetite and the perfect storm of clever marketing and controversy.Downton Abbey isn't exactly the Wire either. Or even a good production of Wuthering Heights. It's a dowdy, reactionary soap-opera with considerable charm but little brains to commend it. Lots of outward posh and polish but it is just as much accessible popular TV as X-factor or Strictly Come Dancing. They like to read John Grisham. They pay attention to the latest bestsellers. They’ve read The Da Vinci Code and Eat, Pray, Love. They like nonfiction, such as Atul Gawande’s books on the medical practice or books by political figures. Doctors and lawyers are not stupidity-proof. And more to the point, I think we're talking here about a very clear distinction between people who love literature and literate books, and those who want simply (sic) entertainment. Some people enjoy both, this is demonstratively true. But others seem for a number of reasons, to never be fully comfortable with novels that demand something more than just showing up to turn the pages from their readers.Contemporary best-selling novels are fighting against the tide then, and since a best seller by definition needs to appeal to the widest possible base, why would we expect complex literary novels to be the norm and not the exception?