I lay on my bed reading the book, which was very sappy, in my opinion. I was summoning all the cruelty of the first-time reviewer trying to make her mark... No one had ever written such an incisive account of the failings of a novel. No one had ever defended literature so honourably from its own practitioners. This was a start, a start in literary journalism which I hoped could turn me, by osmosis, into a writer of books, as publishers admired my stinging prose and invited me to lunch to ask if I would like to write a novel myself. But the end of the next day, the review was returned to me with a brief note: 'Next time, try writing in the English language.'I rang up the literary editor. 'What's wrong with my review? I spend two days on it.''Yes, I can tell. What does "the surplus value of modernism" mean? No, please, don't tell me. Listen, dear, all we want to know is what the subject is, a bit of an idea about the plot, who the characters are and whether the author has pulled off what they set out to do. That's it. And if you could make the review interesting to read, obviously that would be a help... if you want to review books, you need to know what a book review is. Just go and read a few, will you, and give me a ring in a couple of weeks. And could you post the book back or drop it off, if you're passing. I need to give it to someone else.'
Linda Grant, The Clothes on their Backs (2008).