This was a giveaway I won from Goodreads. I really do appreciate receiving it. Mr. Lentz kindly autographed it for me.
Where to start. Where to start.
Mr. Lentz feels passionately about novels, important novels, novels of worth. I would venture to surmise that Mr. Lentz feels he stands alone in his passion.
Mr. Lentz shares his "critical model" with his readers.
I am struggling to critique his Novel Criticism. I feel unworthy in a lot of ways. I don't read the kind of fiction written by what Mr. Lentz calls "bellwether writers." Bellwether writers are writers who don't write for the masses, but write for immortality, as opposed to "contract writers" who write for commercial rewards. I was an English major in college and enjoyed many of the writers given as examples of bellwether writers, but I will admit to not looking back once I graduated. I have not revisited many of those writers since, nor do I plan to. Regardless of what the professors said or Mr. Lentz feels, I do feel many of those bellwether writings are dated and no longer relevant.
I am all over those writers seeking commercial rewards and I find the books written for immortality to often be self-serving and pretentious so I may not be the audience that Mr. Lentz is searching for.
Mr. Lentz uses quotes from his own works of fiction to illustrate bellwether writing. I enjoyed very much some of his illustrative passages. Others, I must admit, went over my head, way over my head and onto the next floor.
I agree with Mr. Lentz's CPI (Central Performance Indicators), a list of 25 criterion that will help you focus in on how you feel about a book subjectively. I find it a very valid and helpful list. It is comprehensive and meaningful. There are indicators that I don't agree with, such as 17, Did the Writer work hard enough. I really don't think that is something I can judge, or anyone reading the book can judge. And frankly, I don't like to read what it seems as if the writer "worked" hard on. If I can see the difficulty of the process of writing, then it takes me out of the story.
Novel Criticism, How to Critique Novels Like a Novelist is definitely food for thought. I do not agree with its premise that the only books worth writing are those written for immortality, but I do understand how one with Mr. Lentz's background would wish for a world where bellwether equals commercial success.
A commendable effort.