The MacLamity

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

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My vote for the winner of this year's Samuel Johnson Prize. I haven't read any of the other books. But 'Like a Fiery Elephant' is seriously good. Its subject and techniques are obscure. But it's also a fantastic read. Normally, writers suffer in their biographies because the most interesting thing they did -- ie. write -- is hard to convey in writing. So, you get lots of anecdotes about what idiots they were when they weren't writing. 'Like a Fiery Elephant,' on the other hand, dedicates a short chapter to this problem, and is as good as any solution, and to the charts on schoolbook graph paper that B.S. Johnson made, showing how many words he'd written each day.