I came across an article yestermorn written by Jonathan Freedland. For those who don’t know, Mr Freedland is a columnist for one of the UK’s leftish newspapers, the Grauniad. (See a full list of his columns.) He’s been putting himself about recently — appearing on the BBC’s Newsnight Review, for example — and his thrust to the forefront can only be attributed to the publication of his debut novel, The Righteous Men. Now, by all accounts, Freedland is a gifted columnist (he was named Columnist of the Year in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards), but The Righteous Men has not drawn stellar reviews — only two so far, and neither very positive (see Grumpy’s article for a summary). This is yet another example, I fear, of a journalist who thinks that, because he uses words for a living, he can write a novel. How many house painters make the transition to portraiture?
I don’t want to talk about the book here — because I haven’t read it — but I wanted to draw your attention to the Guardian article I mentioned above. In the article, which I read last evening, Mr Freedland waxes the barely lyrical on the adoption of a nom de plume. The digested read: “It started as a bit of a joke, then my agent liked it, so I kept it.” Mr Freedland, pointlessly, goes on to list many other authors who used noms de plume, and then the article ends. It’s a piece of fluff copy with absolutely no aim that is, clearly, designed to keep the ball of his book in the air.
Oh yeah, it was to test my new blog picture system. Look! It has a drop shadow. I love my Mac.