The first reviews are in: David Crystal, defined by The Guardian newspaper as ‘the foremost writer and lecturer on the English language’, has said some lovely things about the novel, not all of which I can quote here. In many ways it doesn’t really matter what happens now – the knowledge that someone of Prof. Crystal’s standing enjoyed and understood that the book is about how “characters struggle to communicate in a world steeped in images of language” makes it a success.
But this is not really the point. Reviews are a terrible business – I write them myself for Orbis poetry magazine – and I know how difficult it is to balance them. I often wonder how much we should trust them. It depends on who they’re from, of course, and whether we place any value on that particular reviewer’s comments.
Prof. Crystal likes this latest novel, and for me that’s wonderful: but what do you think? How do we find folk to review our work, what do they get in return, and do we trust them? Do they really sway readers to choose one book over another? Put another way, if someone gets in touch to say that they’ll review my book, should I let them?