Tiptoe through the minefields Print

Some more thought on reviewing, occasioned by new literary magazine, KILL YOUR DARLINGS, which I just reviewed, so I can't repeat the comments I made here until Sunday week.

Reviewing is a minefield, unless you happen to live in a deep dark cave. One of the problems is social. At one of last year's Xmas parties, I chatted to a political satirist, who surely would have a professional hide like a turtle. When I remarked that I'd reviewed him, he put his hands up in defensive position and said: "Don't tell me! Don't tell me!"

"Favourably," I quickly added.

He thought. "Ah, yes, I remember your review." Pleased smile.

We got on just fine after that, with topics of chat including literary drinking groups to avoid (don't go to the Standard Hotel, he says).

But what if I'd given him a good reviewerly kicking?

In that case I wouldn't have mentioned the review. And if he was a true professional, he wouldn't have mentioned it either. We could still have chatted, but with a thin, frail, layer of ice.