Weiner, Picoult, and Franzen

Weiner, Picoult, and Franzen redux.

I have to say that from the soundbites posted here, Weiner and Picoult both have some interesting points.  I consider the critics views of such luminaries as Charles Dickens (whom they despised and derided) and Arnold Bennett (whom they loved and adored) and wonder whether one should invest so much time worrying about what critics have to say.  Most of them are ordinary people with extraordinary opinions and the wherewithal to express those opinions succinctly and clearly.  Does that make what they laud worthy of the praise?  Not necessarily--critics can be as confused or as idiosyncratic (or more so) than any common reader.  That the critics rally around Franzen is not necessarily indicative of Franzen's true worth in the literary world.  Nor is it indicative of a lack of worth.  It is merely the opinion of the here and now reacting to something that speaks to the zeitgeist or spirit of the time.  Whether good, bad, or indifferent, Franzen's book has struck a momentary chord, and we must recall that quotation that gave us the title of Josephine Tey's most famous novel:  Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. (Sir Francis Bacon)


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