Thirlwell’s been in my head a bit this week, in the manner of a
planetary conjunction. I was looking at a book of his (Politics) in a shop (charitable) wondering whether to buy it. I decided not.
was thinking of buying it because I occasionally like to read things I’m pretty sure I’m going to dislike. I do this because it allows me to satisfy
myself that all contemporary novelists are poor. I decided not to buy it because of the third line. In the first two lines, he introduces the two main
characters. The third line was as follows (approximately):
I think you’re going to like Moshe. I think you’re going to like X
Then I closed the book and put it back on the shelf. Then I left the shop. Then I got something to eat and went back to the
I thought to myself later, Thirlwell should read (or re-read, since he is so well-read), Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground.
If he did, he might come across the idea that man doesn’t in general like to be told what he should do or think about something; in fact, he may well
act entirely against his conscience and interests just to prove to himself that he is sovereign over himself.
Perhaps this is why Adam Mars-
Jones says one of Thirlwell’s books is “monumentally annoying”.
If you think this post is well-written, you’d should reach some Thirlwell.
For he has a lot to say about literary style.