Max Gate, by Damien Wilkins (Victoria University Press, 2013), 220 pp., $30.
The sub-genre of novels about Great Writers seems to be a growing one, but it is sometimes troubling. I find that such novels are always arguing a case about the Great Writer in question, and are implicitly asking readers to accept that case as authentic. Compare, for example, David Lodge’s Author! Author! (Henry James as likeable old buffer who wants a quiet life) with Colm Toibin’s The Master (Henry James as tragic proto-gay figure). Or look at C.K. Stead’s Mansfield and see what the guy wants KM to represent.
Novels about Great Writers also force reviewers to ask what their own views on the Great Writer are. [Read more…]