Thursday, January 28, 2010
Nicholas Coleridge: Distressed by his dangler and a 33% over-write
Pride and Avarice - out Feb 2 - consolidates the annexation of lucrative Jilly Cooper territory (her next 600-pager's out in October). Distressingly, and as I write, the .co.uk arm of Amazon has no plot details of his latest 496-page epic which first came out as Deadly Sins in the UK last year: set in the OK Corral of, er, Hampshire. So I am forced to visit the .com arm and learn more, courtesy of a Publishers' Weekly's review synopsis reprinted there. "While funny and smartly conceived, [it] could stand to lose a good 150 pages," it sniffs between attempts at enthusiasm for his novel.
"As the narrative progresses, the ever-increasing chains of coincidences and shifts of allegiance begin to feel like a piling-on. Sometimes less is more."
In any case, the Publishers' Weekly review is an odd item to plonk on your online sales stall. And the Cooperland genre - which put the mittel into the england of shires bonkerama - requires a fat wad of book for its 50-something bottled blonde-in-pipe-jeans audience. What to do?
Coleridge (a sensitive Pisces), the much-adored Managing Director of Condé Nast in Britain - with Vogue, Tatler, Vanity Fair etc ever eager to help push book sales as disinterested fiction lovers - may also be left unamused by the misleading claim of Macmillan's PR puff for Pride and Avarice: "Hailed by The New Yorker as 'wickedly enjoyable', Nicholas Coleridge's newest novel is..."
Anyone would think the Condé Nast magazine found Pride and Avarice "wickedly enjoyable" and that it had got hold of a very early review copy. But the ringing praise was actually for Coleridge's earlier novel Godchildren. I'm sure this can't be a deliberate misrepresentation. I would refer Macmillan staff to the perils of dangling participles and misplaced modifiers and how to avoid them. Still, nearly 200 other online media have happily cut 'n' pasted the slip-up, so there's a comfort.
I would also question the use of "newest novel" - does this mean his old novels are permanently new? As in, "Have you read my new novel which was published 10 years ago?" But I'll let that pass. Wouldn't want to be called pedantic.
Here's an excerpt from his newest novel - tell me what you think.