Hemon on the novel-as-film-treatment

Aleksandar Hemon trounces Daniel Wagner’s A Movie … and a Book, calling it:

the worst book I have ever voluntarily read. Wagner is a 29-year-old snowboarder from Switzerland and has never written a book before. It seems that he has never read one either. Beginning with the absurd title, every page reveals such rich ineptitude in thinking and writing that its 100 or so pages feel endless….

Wagner’s publisher, Alfred A. Knopf—traditionally a serious purveyor of literary fiction–announced A Movie … and a Book to be one of “the coolest first novels … in a long while.” In fact, the title and the blurb (“a must-read for fans of Memento and Adaptation“) from Eric Garcia–the genius who wrote the novel that the movie Matchstick Men was based on–suggest that the target audience is a cash-happy Hollywood producer….

Why bother reviewing this sort of thing, a reasonable reader may ask? According to Laura Miller’s recent article in the New York Times, 175,000 trade books were published last year in this country (a jump of 19 percent since 2002), 10,000 of them fiction. Why not write about the good stuff?

The significance of Wagner’s scribbling is that it is exactly what you end up with if publishing and fiction writing become a pursuit of cheap hipness and movie rights….

(Via Lizzie.)


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