Good news and bad news.
The good news is that one of my favourite authors, John Irving, has just published a new book: "Until I Find You". It's a nice juicy big one too, coming in at over 800 pages.
Usually this would be cause for a great celebration and a period of withdrawal as I retreat from society to read this book in a single sitting.
Alas, then that the bad news is that it has universally been hailed as crap.
"Whoever first told John Irving that he was the Dickens of his day did him great damage. His talent isn't a torrent but a stream which needs careful damming if it is to build up the proper pressure. When it meanders as sluggishly as this, his limitations bob up becalmed." [the Guardian]
"Subtlety of every sort is abolished; if there is the remotest chance of the reader not following an insinuation or plot turn, Irving will devote the subsequent paragraph to its explication. That most reliable indicator of crudeness of thought, the exclamation mark, is to be found in abundance....one sobs with despair at the thought of a sequel" [The Sunday Times]
Truth be told, I've not been overly impressed with his last two books. "A Widow For One Year" took me a long while to get hooked, and "The Fourth Hand" (lacrosse playing, frozen dog turd flicker aside) left me cold. Some of his books are majestic though. If you haven't read any, I would heartily recommend that you immerse yourself into something like "The Cider House Rules" (although don't bother with the film), "A Son of the Circus" or (my favourite) "A Prayer for Owen Meany".
So yes, I will be buying this doorstopper of a book at the weekend and giving it a go based entirely on the author's past glories and a desire to make up my own mind about it. Look out for a review within a week if it's any good, and in about 12 months if it's not.
Actually, it's pouring with rain here tonight, and I'm filled with a desire to curl up in bed and read a book, so I think that's just what I'm going to do.
8 hours ago