There is unpredictable world, but if you work as a reviewer in a newspaper, it is in any case one thing you can be bomsikker on. As surely as winter turns into spring you're going to be accused of vicarious motives or bad morals, or both if you write a negative review. It happened recently with my colleague Cathrine Kroger, after that she gave Henrik langeland's new novel, "Showtime!" roll of the dice 2.
Knut Gørvell, sales and marketing director at langeland's publishing house Cappelen Damm, went hard out on the Facebook and accused Kroger to engage in "light-harvesting" and for conducting "a personal vendetta" against Langeland, the last despite the fact that Kroger had given Langeland good reviews in the past. As regards the first, it was based on the fact that Kroger had said in an interview that it could be fun to slaughter. But the accusation was based on a fallacies.
While most reviewers enough will mean that it is a creativity of to write a negative review, because you have to describe a mismatch between ambition and result that sometimes can be downright comical, is it not so that the reviewer looking for opportunities to slaughter. Both reviewers, readers and forlagsfolk want, on literature's behalf, the most possible good books.
But all the books is not good. It knows both reviewers, readers and forlagsfolk. The publisher, whose job it is to support authors and sell the books they give out, will naturally be enthusiastic public. This is precisely why it is important that there is an independent entity that has no interest in whether a book sells well or bad, who can say whether they think this was successful or not, if it's worth it to spend money on. One such instance is the critics.
Critics neither infallible or objective. They go to work with his set of references and preferences. But they should be qualified, they should have the overview and knowledge enough to be able to place the release in a landscape and on a scale, and come up with a conclusion based on how this book stands compared to the other books that the reader can be lured to spend time and money on. They are the counter weight to advertising, as readers overstrømmes from all other edges.
Of the reason is it only funny when Gørvell believe one of Krøgers tasks should be to "create the joy of reading". Naturally, this is not the reviewer's job. Although, he has and the imprint of his economic interest in a book that "Showtime!" sells well. It is an honest case, but it is not, of course, anmeldernes or the press's job to help him with the job. He also points to the other, positive reviews of the novel as a kind of testimony that Kroger is wrong, and hence there must be something wrong with her review.
But had been such that there was an answer key in this job, we could nøyd us to have a sublime riksanmelder in Norway, and so consulted him or her every time something came out between stiff covers. The criticism of a book is not any answer with two lines underneath, there is a oppspark to a conversation, where different reviewers will place emphasis on different pages.
Although I have not read langeland's book, but as a critic I react when another kritikers negative conclusion immediately leads to that the publishing house are looking for fraud, and believes that she is vindictive or sadistic, rather than to deal with the most obvious: This was an experienced, professional reader who sincerely believed that the book not held goal, and who did his job and wrote just that.
One side of the story that is worth discussing, is the extent to which a book shall be considered as a product in a particular genre. Most reviewers will, for example, believe that a krimroman to work out from the slightly other criteria than a samtidsroman with other ambitions.
When it is said, one should not swipe the writers too much with the hairs if they are not simply, well, write well enough. That one writes within a genre, should not be used as an excuse for klisjéfylt language or platte persontegninger. Writers are writing on a professional basis, and must be assessed accordingly.
It Gørvell and many reviewers have in common is that they wish there was room for more reviews in the Norwegian press. When the media landscape is fragmented and klikkbasert, and large databases are ready to give bokleserne advice and guidance, it is not easy to get reviews to be read and talked about. It is a challenge both for the critics and media houses to create living, critical conversations about communities in the world such as it has been.
Yet another development that has become increasingly apparent in the last few years, is that the publishing industry and bokhandlerbransjen has been more bestselgerorientert. It is the same books that run back in the wide advertising campaigns and placed on pallets in the bookstore. Those who will place this book in your hands, are many, and eager pengesterke. Then it is good there are some that ask you to think about before you accept and take forward visa card.No and no, Langeland
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