Reviewed and Reviewing
Meanwhile, I’ve posted the most ardently ambivalent review ever at Black Gate. The things I admired about Mark Smylie’s debut novel, The Barrow, I admired immensely, in particular a funeral-gone-wrong scene so good I wish I’d written it. Alas, Smylie seems to have assumed his success at writing graphic novels meant he didn’t have to learn anything new to write prose fiction, and the book’s blunders sometimes threaten to sink the whole effort. Somehow, he got me to finish, and at times enjoy, a very long book in which most of the characters are somewhere between off-putting and odious. Only if you are a particular kind of reader would I suggest that you read it, too. I’ve been told my review is entertaining enough in itself to appeal to people who would never read this book. Your mileage may vary.