This months Literary Review has arrived and contains a glowing piece by Diana Athill on Jane Smiley's book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. I haven't seen this in the bookshops here yet and hope that surely can't still be as a result of the early problem? I wasn't to know that the untrimmed page edges were intentional. It was obviously a concept thing to make the book resemble Jane Smiley's central text, the year 1004's (yes 1004) bestseller edition of Lady Murusaki's The Tale of Genji. Having returned two *faulty* copies to the Great River of Books and complained about a third they decided to withdraw the entire stock as sub standard and I think the book was unavailable in the UK for some time as a result. I can only apologise profusely and I do hope you all now have your copy.
I kept one of the substandard ones rather than be parted again from a book I had bonded with lovingly and of course, as is my wont, marginalia-ised wildly.
And a huge thankyou for the tip off from bookaholics anon. over in the US, prowling the aisles of Barnes & Noble on our behalf, who shared news of this must-have gem within hours of publication last October, if only you'd mentioned the pages.
Faced with a complete loss of confidence in her writing, despite consistently good reviews, Jane Smiley chose to take a break and read books instead. Thankfully the result was this book that, once discovered , becomes one that you love to have resting at your right hand. Diane Athill agrees with the rest of us that this is a book to be reckoned with and she makes the point that it will appeal to both those who read for pleasure and those who read for something a bit deeper. I frequently dip in to check if my current read is amongst Jane Smiley's 100 novels and see if our thoughts match up.