who knew? PW wisdom strikes again

So over at Amazon the cover for TTTT is up, and so is the first official review, by Publishers Weekly.

I’ve talked about the review process before, at length and I won’t go into that song and dance again. The PW review isn’t bad in any direct way; it’s more of a short plot summary with a couple of observations attached to the end. Snark, my agent and editor said when they called to warn me.

Now I’ve had some pretty nasty reviews in the past. Who can forget color by number cartoon caricatures? Obviously I can’t. It always strikes me as funny, when I think of that review. Somebody was trying so hard to be clever, I still get an immediate vision of a graduate seminar.

This newest review declares that while TTTT has some charm, “the novel makes no real emotional demands.”

So I’ve been thinking about that all day. Where do I get my emotional demands? That’s easy: I have an almost seventeen year old daughter. I have a husband and in-laws and good friends. The government is imploding, I find that emotionally demanding, even draining. But books?

If I think about novels I really like (here’s three, at random: Lonesome Dove, Possession, Pride and Prejudice) do I re-read them because they make emotional demands? Why do I re-read them? What about the story and the characters draws me back to the book? They make me think. They make me feel — well sure. What story doesn’t make me feel something? If I feel nothing, then the story doesn’t work for me. The range of feelings I get from novels is large, though. Is a novel that makes me sad better than one that makes me laugh?

Aha. Here we are, back at the culture of ugly argument. The no-pain-no-gain approach to writing and storytelling.

So the bottom line: Tied to the Tracks will not make you weep, or huddle into a conflicted ball of emotions, challenge your view of eternity. It hopefully will make you think about some things and make you laugh. I’m satisfied if I get that far. I’ll leave emotional demands to your loved ones, and the news of the day.