Sebastian Kirsch: Blog

Sunday, 09 October 2005

Christopher Rice: A Density of Souls

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 23:24

[cover](an open letter to Christopher Rice)

Dear Christopher,

I would love to like your books. I really would. You’re a prodigy. You’re the son of Anne Rice and Stan Rice. You published your first book when you were just 22. You’re openly gay. And you’re not looking too bad, if I may say so. You have everything it takes.

Then why do you keep on writing drivel like this? Even if one disregards the absurd and convoluted plot, the non-existant character development, the badly motivated actions, the failed literary devices, the frequent use of improbable coincidences, even if one disregards all that – the language alone is so overdone as to turn me away from your writing.

Just some examples, picked from random pages – to show that there’s awful language on almost every page:

  • “Meredith burped slightly, the acidic flavour of vomit blossoming in her throat” (p. 81)
  • “Jordan felt a twinge of disappointment tug at his shoulders.” (p. 161)
  • “Jordan clutched to the post, pressing his forehead to the metal, as Brandon’s body drifted down Jackson Avenue in an eddy of flotsam.” (p. 257)
  • “In one week, Stephen had developed a type of penetrating gaze that comes out of a fine silt of resignation that settles upon the soul.” (p. 24.)

There were worse expressions, but I failed to note them down while reading the book – and I do not want to have to read it again. Once was plenty.

Who taught you to write like that? “vomit blossoming in her throat"? “silt of resignation"? “an eddy of flotsam"? Your creative writing classes? If so, please forget everything you learned from them – and leave that kind of flowery writing to authors who know when and how to use it. Liberally sprinkling convoluted similes and descriptions over a an awful plot does not make a good book.

Some people have compared you to Bret Easton Ellis. I contend that this comparison is ludicrous. Ellis’ writing is a careful dissection of the horrors that lurk beneath the surface of modern life. Your writing is simply needless, uncalled-for and illogical gore.

One could claim that “A Density of Souls” is your first book, and you can still improve – but I did read “The Snow Garden", and it’s just as bad. You have so much room for improvement. Why don’t you use it?

I’m sorry,Christopher, but I don’t think it’ll work out between the two of us. I think we should go separate ways.

I wish you all the best with future books.

Love, Sebastian


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