Response to literature--indeed all art--is subjective, like falling in love. A review is one reader's response, albeit a public one. The best reviews strive for balance, given that most readers of the review won't have read the book being discussed or dissected.
Gang reviews do a disservice to authors and readers, though they are expedient for busy, overloaded literary editors with too many books and too little space. These round-ups barely allow room for a rudimentary thumb's up or thumb's down. They coerce the reviewer into a beauty contest, dealing with each work primarily in comparison to the others, choosing a winner. Often the works discussed share little in terms of vision, style, or voice. Such comparisons are reductive,odious,as they are in the human realm.
Each book, new to the world, deserves being analyzed and discussed as a unique entity.
As a novelist with three works of fiction published and one on the way, I've done some reflecting of late about what is ultimately most important to me regarding each of my book's lives in the world. I savour and cherish reader responses after the long years of ass in chair time imagining and writing into my volumes of short stories and novels. I also hope for a life beyond the internecine Montreal literary scene (gotta love it) and beyond the small and shrinking market here in Canada (O Canada, adopted home, I love you too)!
The White Space Between, my latest, will be published in the U.S. this spring. Check my website in a bit for events there, certainly New York, my home town and Minneapolis, MN, home of my BFF and a wonderful literary city. Other venues as well.
I long for The White Space Between to be translated into other languages and to reach foreign countries. So Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Korea, France, Japan, Israel, my fingers are crossed. Not to mention you French publishers here in Quebec.
It's a great big world out there. Thank goodness for that.