The HVAC guy took forever yesterday (verdict: the furnace can be saved; the heat pump, not so much), so I wound up reading a bad novel by a writer who is famous, but not for novels. (Which means that all the jacket blurbs were these atrocious, ass-kissy, "What a masterful genius!!!! I only hope you write more of your WONDERFUL novels (and give me a job!)"-type things. I was like, Dear God, don't encourage this crap.)
One of the WONDERFUL aspects of the novel, showing the author's masterful genius!!!, was that the actual plot did not begin until fully a third of the way into the book. Instead, the entire first third of the book was dedicated to describing the day-to-day life of . . . a professional writer.
Not just any professional writer--a professional writer who doesn't write novels (but would like to write one), and who is about the same age and lives in the same area and is the same gender as the actual author. (Yeah, he really dug deep into his imagination for that one. I'm gonna assume that the resentful ex-wife and adult children are his, too.)
I keep reading this. Since everyone who writes a book is a writer, there are a bazillion gazillion not-particularly-imaginative books out there about, you guessed it, life as a writer.
As I've said before, someone simply doing a job is not enough to carry a book. And let's face it, writers have about the most boring jobs imaginable.
Especially established writers. This guy's not poor; he's not uneducated; he's not desperate. What does he spend an entire third of the book doing? Oh, you know, arguing with his agent, worrying about the wording of his latest contract, wondering when he'll get time to write that novel, wondering if he'll have to (shudder) teach another university class (the horror!!!) to maintain his middle-class lifestyle.
These are the kinds of thing that, when Tweeted about, get you on White Whine. Honestly, the only way the stakes of that story could have gotten any lower would have been if the guy was having lots of great sex, but not with the woman he really wanted to have sex with.
Ooops! Sorry! That was in there, too!
In a way, the book reminded me of Michael Chabon's The Wonder Boys, if The Wonder Boys had sucked instead of being awesome. Once the plot starts, the guy . . . kind of realizes that there is a world around him? But not really. The book is not, Guy Realizes That He Is a Self-Indulgent Prat so much as it is, Self-Indulgent Prat Learns To Feel Better About Himself, which . . . what are the stakes here, exactly?