Putu the Cat

Fear me, if you dare. Meow.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

How to respond to bad reviews

This is the text of Anne Rice's response on Amazon to bad reviews of her latest book, another Vampire Lestat novel (the last?), on the same site. Putu couldnt find the review on the Amazon site (has it been taken off? it keeps moving back as new reviews come on in any case) but a cats best friend, Google, came to Putus aid.
Enjoy.

From the Author to the Some of the Negative Voices Here, September 6,
2004
Reviewer: Anne Obrien Rice (New Orleans, LA United States) -

Seldom do I really answer those who criticize my work. In fact, the
entire development of my career has been fueled by my ability to ignore
denigrating and trivializing criticism as I realize my dreams and my
goals. However there is something compelling about Amazon's willingness
to publish just about anything, and the sheer outrageous stupidity of
many things you've said here that actually touches my proletarian and
Democratic soul. Also I use and enjoy Amazon and I do read the reviews
of other people's books in many fields. In sum, I believe in what
happens here. And so, I speak. First off, let me say that this is
addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative
comments here, and not to all. You are interrogating this text from the
wrong perspective. Indeed, you aren't even reading it. You are
projecting your own limitations on it. And you are giving a whole new
meaning to the words "wide readership." And you have strained my
Dickensean principles to the max. I'm justifiably proud of being read by
intellectual giants and waitresses in trailer parks,in fact, I love it,
but who in the world are you? Now to the book. Allow me to point out:
nowhere in this text are you told that this is the last of the
chronicles, nowhere are you promised curtain calls or a finale, nowhere
are you told there will be a wrap-up of all the earlier material. The
text tells you exactly what to expect. And it warns you specifically
that if you did not enjoy Memnoch the Devil, you may not enjoy this
book. This book is by and about a hero whom many of you have already
rejected. And he tells you that you are likely to reject him again. And
this book is most certainly written -- every word of it -- by me. If and
when I can't write a book on my own, you'll know about it. And no, I
have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or
otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and
organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a
status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me,
and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a
virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art. Back to the novel
itself: the character who tells the tale is my Lestat. I was with him
more closely than I have ever been in this novel; his voice was as
powerful for me as I've ever heard it. I experienced break through after
break through as I walked with him, moved with him, saw through his
eyes. What I ask of Lestat, Lestat unfailingly gives. For me, three
hunting scenes, two which take place in hotels -- the lone woman waiting
for the hit man, the slaughter at the pimp's party -- and the late night
foray into the slums --stand with any similar scenes in all of the
chronicles. They can be read aloud without a single hitch. Every word is
in perfect place. The short chapter in which Lestat describes his love
for Rowan Mayfair was for me a totally realized poem. There are other
such scenes in this book. You don't get all this? Fine. But I
experienced an intimacy with the character in those scenes that
shattered all prior restraints, and when one is writing one does have to
continuously and courageously fight a destructive tendency to inhibition
and restraint. Getting really close to the subject matter is the
achievement of only great art. Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine.
You don't enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant
assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used
this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies.
I'll never challenge your democratic freedom to do so, and yes, I'm
answering you, but for what it's worth, be assured of the utter contempt
I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and
perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in
a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses. Now, to
return to the narrative in question: Lestat's wanting to be a saint is a
vision larded through and through with his characteristic vanity. It
connects perfectly with his earlier ambitions to be an actor in Paris, a
rock star in the modern age. If you can't see that, you aren't reading
my work. In his conversation with the Pope he makes observations on the
times which are in continuity with his observations on the late
twentieth century in The Vampire Lestat, and in continuity with Marius'
observations in that book and later in Queen of the Damned. The state of
the world has always been an important theme in the chronicles. Lestat's
comments matter. Every word he speaks is part of the achievement of this
book. That Lestat renounced this saintly ambition within a matter of
pages is plain enough for you to see. That he reverts to his old self is
obvious, and that he intends to complete the tale of Blackwood Farm is
also quite clear. There are many other themes and patterns in this work
that I might mention -- the interplay between St.Juan Diago and Lestat,
the invisible creature who doesn't "exist" in the eyes of the world is a
case in point. There is also the theme of the snare of Blackwood Farm,
the place where a human existence becomes so beguiling that Lestat
relinquishes his power as if to a spell. The entire relationship between
Lestat and Uncle Julien is carefully worked out. But I leave it to
readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes
itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book. There are
things to be said. And there is pleasure to be had. And readers will say
wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are. There are
readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of
each of the chronicles which you so flippantly condemn. They can and do
talk circles around you. And I am warmed by their response. Their
letters, the papers they write in school, our face to face exchanges on
the road -- these things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you
post. But I feel I have said enough. If this reaches one reader who is
curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served
my goals. And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He
always has and he always will. You really wouldn't much like being
around either one of us. And you don't have to be. If any of you want to
say anything about all this by all means Email me at
Anneobrienrice@mac.com. And if you want your money back for the book,
send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward
about my real name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more!
Thank God!

Whoa says Putu
This is what Neil Gaiman has to say
highlights -
...I suspect that most authors don't really want criticism, not even constructive criticism. They want straight-out, unabashed, unashamed, fulsome, informed, naked praise, arriving by the shipload every fifteen minutes or so. Unfortunately an Amazon.com reviews page for one of the author's books is the wrong place to go looking for this. Probably best just not to look...


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