Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Okay I just got SLAMMED by Publishers Weekly

For those who don't know, Publishers Weekly is the big industry magazine, and they review things a month or two ahead of everyone else -- they've never touched any of my books, or maybe they touched them on the way to the recycling bin, but this time they're gracing me with insight and charm.

Get ready...

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. City Lights, $15.95 paper (252p) ISBN 978-0-87286-468-9
Novelist (Pulling Taffy) and nonfiction anthologist (Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity) Sycamore is back with an ambitious but less-than-compelling satire of drug-fueled, gender-bending San Francisco subculture. The narrator, who may or may not be genetically female, fills days and many late nights with relentless sexual encounters and vivid ruminations concerning random sex, hustling, cocaine and other party drugs; occasionally, she takes time out for a rare healthy habit, vikram yoga, and to worry about her apartment's roach-and-rodent infestation. Obviously inspired by the stream-of-consciousness and day-in-the-life classics of Joyce, Woolf and Beckett, here the pointed commentary falls flat; the problem isn't San Francisco's eccentric denizens, but Sycamore's profane meanderings, too much of which isn't especially insightful or funny. The narrator takes far too long to move beyond the bitchy play-by-play, making sure that, by the time Sycamore introduces genuine stakes, readers will already feel too bored and browbeaten to care. (Oct.)


I love this part:

"The narrator, who may or may not be genetically female..."

I kid you not! These people are alive and thriving in our world -- and they review books! This is the world we're living in! It fills my heart with such joy...

And this:

"The problem isn't San Francisco's eccentric denizens, but Sycamore's profane meanderings."

Wait -- don't they mean profound -- that must be a typo!

But wait -- there's always a blurb:

"Ambitious... and vivid... obviously inspired by the stream-of-consciousness and day-in-the-life classics of Joyce, Woolf, and Beckett."

I'll take it...

12 comments:

Daisy said...

I'd take it, too! Don't let them get to you! (((kisses))))

keidy said...

How can you move beyond the bitchy play by play. It is the best part of the entire book.

Remember the old saying. Bad press is better then no press and There is no such thing as bad press.

mairead said...

But wait. Have you seen the books that are praised by Publishers Weekly? They are not your books, o no. So! a very sincere congratulations on the viz, listening comes before hearing, and ignore the flies. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Lisa Harney said...

That line about "may or may not be" stopped me cold for a second. My thought was "Are they reviewing Mattilda or are they reviewing Mattilda's book?"

I think the answer was pretty clear, though.

However, their review sold me.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Daisy, thank you for the kisses!!!

Keidy, this is brilliant:

"How can you move beyond the bitchy play by play. It is the best part of the entire book."

I need to use that blurb!

And exactly about bad press, wait I mean good press I mean press yay for press!

Mairead, you are so so so right! Praise, indeed -- I'm in good company...

Lisa, exactly:

"Are they reviewing Mattilda or are they reviewing Mattilda's book?"

But hello, if it sold you...

Thanks, everyone, for all the insight and charm!

Love --
mattilda

Jim Johnson said...

I agree with the comments above: "It doesn't mater what they say, just so long as they're talking about you!"

I'm off to buy the book ... if it can be found in this deep in Western NY!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you, Jim -- and it's so lovely to hear from you in these parts! And keep me posted about So Many Ways to Sleep Badly in deep Western New York :)

Love --
mattilda

Kathleen Bradean said...

*Hrm*
Well...
*hrm*
I say this as a reviewer: Who reads book reviews anyway?
And: Not every book is for every reader.

*gentle hug with rocking and soothing hand circles over your back*

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Yay for soothing hand circles!

Love --
mattilda

Lisa Harney said...

Yeah, I was sold in a contrarian way. I really hate what they were saying, and the way they said it...whatever they talked about had to be 100x as interesting as they made it sound.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Lisa, indeed -- yay for contrarian ways!

Love --
mattilda

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Lisa, indeed -- yay for contrarian ways!

Love --
mattilda