Gillian Flynn

Popular Prose And The Public

I have always been fascinated with the physical acts of reading books. It’s something we don’t much discuss. Critics often seem to regard ‘readability’ as a bad thing, something to sneer at, but what is wrong with wanting to communicate clearly? Popular non-fiction can become academic and abstruse, littered with notes and references. But Jason […]

Story Doctor: When The Action Goes Too Far

This is the first in a new occasional series about stories. Today let’s look at so-called ‘jumping the shark’. This is the moment when something happens in a story that’s simply too much for the reader/viewer to swallow, and gets its name from an episode of ‘Happy Days’ in which Fonzie performs said stunt. It’s […]

Is This Too Erudite For Modern Readers?

Let’s talk about word power. And I don’t mean that page in the Reader’s Digest encouraging you to improve it. One of the things I find so disappointing about books like the megahit ‘Gone Girl’ is the flatness of the language, and ‘Gone Girl’ is certainly one of the better-written popular novels of the year. […]

Developing Your Reading Tastes

There’s so little free space in newspapers now available to literary criticism that we tend not to write about books we don’t personally get on with. Instead, we use that space to champion books that may not have come to the attention of readers. However, any writer who has also written criticism will tell you […]