Loads of Learned Lumber

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chris Bachelder, _Abbott Awaits_

THIS, TOO, I reviewed elsewhere, although it will likely be a while before the review sees the light of day, so rather than go into matters in detail I will confine myself to an observation and a question.

The observation: what a fine, fulfilling, complete book this is, confirming Bachelder's status as one of my favorite young contemporary novelists.

The question: so why is it this guy is being published by a university press? LSU Press has a reputation for publishing excellent fiction (e.g., Confederacy of Dunces), and a lot of university presses do a nice job of promoting the fiction they publish (e.g., U. of Nebraska), but still...! This is Bachelder's third novel, all three have been original, intelligent, funny, and moving, but apparently commercial publishers are not (as justice would require) beating down his door, even though he's every bit as or more interesting than -- well, let's say Claire Messud, or Jonathan Safran Foer, or Nicole Krauss, or Joshua Ferris, or any number of folks who books lie in stacks at my local Barnes & Noble, get ads in the NYTBR, get shortlisted for prizes, and so and so forth. It's an old, old story, I know, but the older I get the more I resent it.

1 comment:

m.g. said...

--Michael Griffith, Chris's bewildered-by-NYC's-foolishness editor at LSU