Aftermath, or, after the math.

I’m sure I should write a post digesting the critical and readers’ responses to The Romantic and all that kind of morbid self-reflective thing (which I have made, indeed, a career out of) but frankly I can’t be arsed. At least not now.

The short version: baffling. People hated it who I thought would like it, and people loved it who I thought would be indifferent. ‘Feminists’ gave me a particularly hard time, which is frustrating since I am a feminist and I wrote the book with a feminist consciousness. Much attention on the sex, which is also frustrating since, though there is quite a bit of sex, it’s not because I am a slut or because I love sex. In fact, if you read the book, you’ll find the contrary. A sense of bemusement from reviewers that the book isn’t just like In My Skin, generally agreed to be a much more agreeable book. Resentment, too, from reviewers that my book was either too much like the ghastly and world-consuming Eat Pray Love or not enough like it. Acknowledgement in most reviews that The Romantic is nicely written.

On the other hand, the public is apparently buying it, bookshops stocking it and reordering, people personally telling me that they’ve enjoyed it very much, and online reviewers, noticably more than print reviewers, catching the cadences of irony and sorrow in the book instead of getting caught up on how many dildos and how many men I go through.

All in all it seems like years and years since the book came out. I can’t say I’m not disappointed, in the sense of frustrated, at how it’s been critiqued, because I think it’s actually a better-conceived book than In My Skin, more tightly written, more subtle and more challenging. But then I never have really understood what people saw in the first book! And the people who ‘get’ The Romantic are all getting elephant stampsĀ  and Christmas cards, they deserve it.

You writes your book, you publishes your book, you lives with your book, you moves on from your book, you writes the next.

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3 Responses to Aftermath, or, after the math.

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Kate, secret admirer, loved and a bit ashamed to admit titillated by “In My Skin”. Will get to the sequel asap. I enjoy your work even though a bit displaced from the inner-urban, bohemian tones and tendency towards cute and clever words. Admire what I preceive your life journey to be. Press on and upwards, your are wonderful!

    • kate says:

      Hi Steve, you’re allowed to be a bit titillated by IMS but god knows there are not that many sexy bits! Hope you enjoy The Romantic if you get to it. And I’m afraid inner-urban boho-hobo is what I speak. Though when I was in rehab with junkies I did talk a bit more rough. Anyway, thanks so much for the message and happy reading.


  2. Olwyn Conrau says:

    Interesting isn’t it, that all the criticisms are not about the writing but about ‘the story’, which is your story! Um, reviewers, it’s a memoir. Methinks they are the same kinds of reviewers that bag writers for ‘merging’ characters for identity protection or even literary impact. Unfortunately, there will always be those who don’t get what you’ve produced. A friend of mine published a short story collection a year ago. A reviewer wrote, “I don’t really like reading short stories but I guess it’s okay!”

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