Thursday, April 2

Literary Megalomania

I cannot believe I haven't written about this already. And before I start I need to say that my lacking ability to be critical when overwhelmed with the beauty and intricacy of a piece of literary craftsmanship made me a bad literary critic.

Tore Renberg received critical acclaim for his novels "The Man Who Loved Yngve" and "Kompani Orheim", which with a fine sense of emotion chronicles a young man growing up, partly self-biographical, partly canonical to many in his age group. After reading and quite enjoying these novels I read some of his earlier, shorter texts, which with the same kind of delicate handling fondles it's subject from all sides (as Bakhtin would say), with the sounds, sights and smells that identify life. It is just the feeling of being young and growing up, and the secret internal worlds this entails, that is being powerfully described.

So I looked forward to hear what else he had to say; his career looked bright, and I wanted to see this talent develop. Then last year, I came across a cheap print-out of the cover for his new book at work. Which he had obviously designed himself. With no sense of graphical etiquette. And it was the third book in his trilogy. So I thought to myself (whilst being mercilessly amused by the bad cover) that he would stop at this. But allegedly he declared that he was going to devote the remains of his career to completing the story about the same characters and the switches in my head flipped to megalomania.

If you have success with one thing, it is generally a good idea to move on. Just because one thing gives you a good name, doesn't mean that the fickle audience will keep returning to you if you feed them the same gruel over and over. If it makes him feel happy and self-actualised I'm all for it, but on my behalf this is written with a tinge of sadness, like an elegy.

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