One of my weaknesses as a critic that I always forget is that I’m incredibly bad at guessing how people are going to react to specific works. I’ve got a thick enough skin at this point that it doesn’t bother me when people don’t like something I like, and it doesn’t even bother me that I almost always fuck up recommending works when I try – what bothers me more is that I keep forgetting I’m not good at it and trying to do it in different capacities. You get to a point where you know what your strengths and weaknesses are (and that they are always the same thing) and you feel like a fool not for failing but for trying. Deliberately going outside your wheelhouse is good for a lark and for putting yourself in perspective, but it’s better to do that on purpose.
Anyway, Soluter’s reactions to Night Film by Marisha Pessl have floated around “this has bits I like and bits I most definitely do not” – not completely negative, but I’m definitely seeing some irritation with it. I’m definitely curious what people’s negative reactions are; this struck me as a book with three good ideas done competently and no bad ones, and there’s every possibility what is rankling others is what draws me to the book. I’ve always been fascinated by negative reactions to things I like – The Way Of The Samurai advises that when you’re resolved, you can hear of all sorts of ways and be more in accord with your own. Night Film makes sense to me as a competent pageturner and now I’m intensely curious why it’s not that for others.
Also, I’m mentally rifling through books I know that I have middling feelings about and seeing if you guys all agree it’s a solid, entertaining book.