Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Godstone

The most important thing about it right now is that it's written by a Dubai-based author, Stuart Land, and was launched four days ago at our very own Magrudy's. I've just finished it in one sitting.

Alex Haley meets Wilkie Collins meets Dan Brown, but it manages to be unique for all that. The plot is interesting, the twists in it are genuinely surprising and over-all you definitely want to know how it ends. Unfortunately the writing is not yet able to handle it. Not yet, because it is a first novel – as is betrayed by some gaucherie and hesitancy – so indictment is not warranted.

There are some irritants. The occasional descriptions of Dubai sound like tourism plugs (which is frankly suspicious). Now and then, there seems to be a touch of the Great White Hope school of thought (which may well come easily to a Caucasian male who's been knocking around the Middle East for a while). But, most irritating to me, there were explanations - as in, a thobe is such and such worn by so and so, in a place where the translation is irrelevant and inconvenient. I can't see Marquez, for example, allowing the explanation imperative get in his way.

But read it, I enjoyed the story as much as Da Vinci Code. And I'd like to say to Stuart Land - write the next one, but don't be so concerned with not offending anyone. When half your friends disown you and your book is banned, you sleep the sleep of fulfilment. Ask Rushdie.

Also maybe use another publisher, one that has proofreaders.

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