Vanity Fair profiles The eXile: "Gutsy...visceral...serious journalism...abusive, defamatory...poignant...paranoid...and right!"
MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Books / January 23, 2010


I promised this guy I’d review a new novel called Exiles, so the review could appear in eXiled and provide some sort of synergistic frisson in the universe or something. That was months ago and I still haven’t done it. Here’s why:

It may be that I will never send Iris this letter, Spiegel thought. But someday I will see her and we will talk about these things, and then she will know.

You see? That’s the last line of the novel. I peeked at it to see where the thing would end up if I actually read all 344 pages, and that’s the final kicker. Note how the contractions have all dropped out, always an ominous sign in any novel written after 1890. “I will see her, we will talk, she will know.” Straining for lofty effect by not writing I’ll, we’ll, she’ll—bad. Very bad.

Even worse, the cover of the book features the title in white on a black field, with a big red X in it, apparently in imitation of our eXiled logo. This appears over an artistic ink-block rendering of a protester with raised fist, looking like the wimpiest protester who ever wore a tie-dyed shirt and talked in a bleating voice about cultural diversity. Gah!

So I mailed the book to Ames, who mailed it back, and then offered it to Dolan who said No thanks, and generally tried to get rid of the thing. No luck. So I tried the book again, reading the first lines:

One of the pleasures of a railroad journey is the illusion that the landscape is passing by, though in fact, as you are reminded when you catch a glimpse of cars idling at a gated crossing or passengers on a platform waiting for the local or a group of children waving and tossing stones from an embankment, you are the one in motion while the landscape is fixed in its place and undisturbed by your passage. On a long enough journey, the view from the window becomes a narrative, but with no beginning and no end, just a continuously receding strip of a world that can be, for the traveler, a way to translate space into time, as what’s left behind vanishes not only into the distance but also into the past. (3)

It’s as if the author—Elliot Krieger’s the name— is just testing you, to see if you’re fool enough to keep reading after such an opening. But it’s amazing how many modern novels kick off this way, with very long sentences meditating on mundane piffle that’s offered up as penetrating insight. No doubt this kind of stuff goes over big at creative writing workshops. Starting off all puffy and metaphorical, then helping out the slower readers by telling them what the metaphor is that’s under construction: the view from the train is like a narrative, folks, and not coincidentally, you’re READING a narrative! Oh, what a page-turner this is gonna be!

Repelled by the actual text, I tried the back cover. Here’s the summary:

Protesters against the Vietnam war have been granted asylum in Sweden. Into this hotbed of conflicting egos comes an innocent, Lenny Spiegel, to do a good deed. [The line actually reads “to do a good dead” but I assume that’s a typo, not some kind of failed witticism. Though it’s tough to say for sure. – EJ] He learns that everything personal is political among the exiles of Uppsala.

Hm. Well, Ann Beattie likes it. She writes well-reviewed novels like Chilly Scenes of Winter and Another You, and no, I’m not making up those titles. Her blurb says:

It’s not every novel that has as its backdrop the works of Strindberg and the nefariousness of Nixon. Exiles is filled with suspense, and with characters who converse as if they’re in a play, themselves.

Oh my God, it’s like being dared to eat a live baby squid, they make it seem so horrible.

What’s weird is, I know people who can read this kind of thing—“literature,” I mean. Pretty good people, they are, too, as people go, and they can absorb the very worst that gets put out there with a fortitude that one can’t help but admire. Toni Morrison, yep, Margaret Atwood, sure, David Foster Wallace, no problemo. Maybe it’s a genetic thing. It doesn’t give them stomach cramps, whereas I almost double up with the pain. They’ve got digestive systems like goats and can eat anything good or bad, an enviable evolutionary development. That, or they really “love literature.”

Loving literature isn’t the same as liking to read, see. I always liked to read, but for a short while I also tried to love literature out of a sense of duty and a mistaken belief that cultivated tastes and rank snobbery would help me in life. Kids get these crazy ideas.

Liking to read is when you skim whatever’s lying around and throw aside most of it but hang onto whatever makes you happy, and pore over that stuff again and again, and go out hunting for more. And most of the time, you get no bragging rights out of it. That’s the test, when it does you no good out in the world. I remember reading P.G. Wodehouse books in high school, and who the hell could I tell I was reading Thank You, Jeeves and The Code of the Woosters when everyone else was reading some godforsaken John Irving novel? I was freakish enough already.

Anyway, about this book Exiles and these “characters who converse as if they’re in a play, themselves.” (Why add “comma themselves”? It’s maddening.) Here’s a random sample of this play-like conversing, from pages 68-9:

“Okay, guys,” Tracy said. “Take a stack of these flyers, each of you, on the way out, all right?”

The Worm, Reston, and Zeke fumbled with their caps and wool scarves.

“I don’t know, man,” Zeke said. “Last time I handed out flyers some pig comes up to me and says something I don’t understand, and then he grabs me by the arm and shoves me right off the corner. I’m saying, hey, don’t a guy have a right to hand these out? Ain’t this a free country?”

“Well, it ain’t a free country,” Reston said.

“That’s true,” Aaronson said. “You need a permit for everything. Even for a demonstration.”

“Can you imagine that, having to sign up for the right to protest?”

I could go on quoting, but why? No good can come of this sort of prose.

In short, I defy you to read this book. If anyone can read this book, can eat this live baby squid all slimy and sad, and report back in pitiless detail about the experience, I’ll—well, I’ll be pretty impressed, that’s all.

And just in case you do read it and feel inclined to forgive the transgressions of this appalling new novelist, here’s Krieger blogging for his publisher Soho Press, under the June 6, 2009 entry entitled “Updike & I”:

I’d often imagined (hoped? fantasized?) that John Updike, one of my truly favorite authors, would someday read Exiles and enjoy the book. I’m saddened to know that this will never be. He was a terrific writer in so many genres, and, as the many tributes to him have noted, he was a thoughtful and generous man with a playful conversational wit. I was privileged to have met him once; when I was the books editor at the Providence Journal, we were seated next to each other at a formal dinner at RISD. We had a great discussion; I’d recorded some of it for a feature story, but I can’t find the tape.

My wife, Marge, will kill me for telling this story, but when I completed a first draft of Exiles, she read it straight through. When she finished, she told me what she loved about the book. But then she told me something else: “Too much sex,” she said. “Too much like Updike.” I told her that if Exiles was ever to be published, I’d love to use that line on the front cover! (Alas, it is, but I didn’t.) – elliot

As you can see, this Updike-lover deserves no mercy.

Read more: , , , , , , , , Eileen Jones, Books

Got something to say to us? Then send us a letter.

Want us to stick around? Donate to The eXiled.

Twitter twerps can follow us at


Add your own

  • 1. tim  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    is there a point in reviewing bad novels? do we need to be warned off something we’ll never encouner on the shelf anyways?

  • 2. Adam  |  January 24th, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I read a book one time called “Pleasant Hell”. Probably one of the few novels of the modern era that I really liked and connected with.

  • 3. Requia  |  January 24th, 2010 at 1:54 am


    In this case, I have to assume that it was reviewed out of sadism. I can think of no other reason I was just tricked into reading the first sentence of that novel.

  • 4. dfrnz  |  January 24th, 2010 at 2:08 am

    @2 lulz

  • 5. Graham  |  January 24th, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I haven’t read this article yet. On the basis of the title, I predict that I will love it.

  • 6. Mudstone  |  January 24th, 2010 at 3:43 am

    “Exiles” certainly sounds dreadful. However, whatever one might think of John Updike and his work, Mr. Krieger’s blog tribute to Updike is as wooden as such things can be. With friends like that . . .

  • 7. David  |  January 24th, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Great review, but is there any good ‘modern novel’ that you would recommend?

  • 8. tonyIchiban  |  January 24th, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Oh shit. Those excerpts are *aggressively* crummy.

  • 9. Mark  |  January 24th, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Shouldn’t it be, “Updike & me”? I dunno – I’m not a professional writer…

  • 10. Philip Pilkington  |  January 24th, 2010 at 5:55 am

    The opener looks like a bad Proust rip-off. Although I’d prefer to suck an old wet sock than read this “novel” (wankfest?) I have to disagree – all “literature” is not contrived trash.

    Good literature is difficult to approach because in order to enjoy it you have to alter the way you view the world in some sense or other – hence the charges of pretension.

  • 11. Nestor  |  January 24th, 2010 at 7:03 am

    The internet is full of negative reviews of stuff the writer hates, they’re more fun to write and read, I guess.

    It vaguely worries me that it’s becoming so prevalent no one can actually get away with making something merely good and getting any attention, what with all the reviewers sharpening their wit and pouring their bile on their beloved objects of contempt.

  • 12. Graham J,  |  January 24th, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I assume we shouldn’t even get you started on postmodern literature (I know I’ve never been able to finish Gravity’s Rainbow, even though I actually like it).

    And Graham, way to steal my name.

  • 13. e  |  January 24th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    the prose is truly laughable and i hope there are better books than this being published somewhere. what self-respecting author can write such a boring ending? i mean, even shitty authors can often write a decent ending; it’s supposed to be an orgasm of sorts, or at least a spoon after a particularly good orgasm.

  • 14. svensvenson  |  January 24th, 2010 at 8:34 am

    does anyone know what happened to john dolan?

  • 15. good 'ol johnny  |  January 24th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Everything about this is fucking hilarious. I can’t believe they ripped off the eXiled logo. Hey Ames, you oughtta try n scare ’em into giving you money for infringement … then WE won’t need to donate, anymore.

    Why the hell’d you even post that?

  • 16. MQ  |  January 24th, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Why is Dolan writing as Eileen Jones now?

    More Dolan, more Dolan!

  • 17. Nicholas  |  January 24th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Victor Pelevin is a quality modern novelist.

  • 18. tam  |  January 24th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I gave up reading modern literature, (unless you include Neal Stephenson) a while back because it’s just so lacking in ideas. The last one I read was Jose Saramago’s Blindness which was just about the most patronising novel I’ve ever read despite having an awesome premise. (Apparently the author was worried that the film adaptation would be too much like a zombie film; he should have been so lucky)

    Read the right way, you learn more about the world from reading an Ian Fleming James Bond novel, (for example, the way that eating a burger and fries was seen as the height of sophistication to Brits back in the 60s) or throwaway details in an Agatha Christie novel from the 30s than from any of the ‘literature’ being released today.

  • 19. tim  |  January 24th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Yes, I suppose the only plausible reason for writing the review was outright sadism.
    The thing I don’t get is, like everybody who writes for this site, and presumably most of the people who read it, are some kind of weirdo outcasts, by choice or chance, probably from childhood on. People made fun of you at school, you were a failure with the girls, the cool kids made fun of you, etc. So now you form your own elite little corps of wounded nerds and piss on people who’ve done nothing to you. The person who wrote that spent a lot of time on it, they did their best and didn’t succeed. So what? Isn’t tearing somebody to pieces also pathetic?
    I am glad this site is here just because the US is going to the absolute stupidest right-wing politicians and there is some conviction here, there are some ideas.
    But what is this good for?

  • 20. expat229  |  January 24th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Current literature has divorced itself from the readers, and become a means of climbing a corporate ladder—and make no mistake, the myriad Creative Writing departments and enclaves ARE a corporate culture, no different from Procter & Gamble or Monsanto.

    So you write your “edgy” novel—of course, following to the letter every single note and critique from your Creative Writing instructor—and you publish it. But not so that readers will enjoy it—heaven forbid! You publish your “edgy” little novel so that you get a JOB.

    How sad is that?

  • 21. camelbak  |  January 24th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    “Me, myself, and Updike” was when I used to fantasize about backroom sex with office cleaning ladies

  • 22. tam  |  January 24th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Also, here’s a fine essay by Tim Lott on the same subject…

    ‘Part of the reason for this lack of vigour is that literature has become an ordinary middle-class occupation rather than a calling. It is no longer an outsider activity, the work of an artist. It is for people who publishers think will write sellable books. The outsider writer, the radical, the oddball is in danger of disappearing. I can count the number of conversations I’ve had with novelists about ideas over the past 10 years on the fingers of one hand. I would need a lot more appendages to count the number of conversations about advances, house prices etc. Writers have become mainstream – and it shows. The idea of them “living it”, as Orwell did, seems too much like hard work.’

  • 23. Korman643  |  January 24th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    The problem with “modern” novels (and I suspect that was Dolan/Eileen point) is that they’re not only tedious and badly written – they’re totally irrilevant. I mean, try reading PK Dick “The Penultimate Truth” – originally written in 1964. If you’re not completely stupid, you’ll recognize it’s an almost unbearably RELEVANT book today even far more it was in 1964 – it tells plenty of great stuff about the world we live NOW.

    But try reading Updike, Atwood, bloody Thomas Pincheon, or awful David Foster Wallace. If you’ve not your nose stuck into asshole, the only sensible answer to their prose is “WHO CARES?”. They are in 2010 as irrilevant as it’s possible to be. They make everything they touch trite, clicheed, boring, insignificant. I mean, I tried reading DF Wallace “Infinite Jest”, and I could go beyond the first dozen pages. Even “Everything and More” was a letdown. And I’m a mathematician – I’m SUPPOSED to love semi-technical books about the concept of infinite!

    Read Philip Dick, read Philip Farmer, read Gustav Hasford, read Borges, read Tolkien, read Ballard, read Stanislaw Lem, read Cordwainer Smith, Diana Wynne Jones, Marguerite Jourcenar, read Jack Vance and Primo Levi… that’s the stuff people will remember 1000 years from now!

  • 24. Skinner's Horse  |  January 24th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    This looks like nine out of ten of the literary novels that come across my desk. If anyone reading this is about to write a novel, PLEASE start with plot and character. Let your themes etc. emerge naturally in the course of drafting -or better still redrafting- your work. I am heartily sick of coming across authors who try to build a book around their oh-so-profound insights without offering any real substance.

    Exiles still can’t be any worse than “One Thousand Splendid Suns” though, the ultimate pseudo-literary turd tome.

  • 25. Pablito  |  January 24th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    The book is so bad, I can’t finish the review.

  • 26. Graham C  |  January 24th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    @ Graham J


  • 27. Gin  |  January 24th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Ah, do you really got to be so hard on the guy? It’s his first book man. Not everyone’s an immediate Salinger or whoever.

    I appreciate that he liked Exiled enough to reference it with his title and logo. While the plot of the story doesn’t really sound interesting to me I’m not going to flame the book unless I actually read it all through.

  • 28. Diet Coke  |  January 24th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    “So now you form your own elite little corps of wounded nerds and piss on people who’ve done nothing to you. The person who wrote that spent a lot of time on it, they did their best and didn’t succeed. So what? Isn’t tearing somebody to pieces also pathetic?”

    You are mistaken. The author of this book is guilty of the highest of crimes, the pretension of being interesting.

  • 29. peter  |  January 24th, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Christ almighty, quit bullshiting and bring back Dolan and the war nerd already. If I check this website a week from now and he still hasn’t posted anything I will have to assume he’s quit and you have lost a reader for good.

  • 30. Iok Sotot, Eater of Souls  |  January 24th, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I second Nicholas # 17

    Victor Pelevin is intensely cool.
    “The Clay Machinegun” altered my perception of the universe for the better.

  • 31. Iok Sotot, Eater of Souls  |  January 24th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Test, Test

  • 32. aaa  |  January 25th, 2010 at 12:00 am


  • 33. TheGreatestNovelistTheWorldHasNotSeen  |  January 25th, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Eileen Jones or whatever the name is, for mentioning Wodehouse you have instantaneously ranked as number 2 person of greatness of all times right behind the even greater P.G. Wodehouse! Congratulations. Though I am afraid you most certainly can not appreciate this yet. Wait 30 years, or so (if you are still alive) and then you will be proud of this moment for I will have the greatest Novel published in the history of the world (with a few minor but naturally completely irrelevant exceptions). And as a token of my appreciation the monstrous tale that is being spun will come your way one day and knock you out of your silly shoes.

    p.s.: This title will of course be revoked if you even dare to critique the pain and joy of my labours…They should do that with the Nobel War Prize

  • 34. Tam  |  January 25th, 2010 at 5:11 am

    @23 Korman643

    ‘The problem with “modern” novels (and I suspect that was Dolan/Eileen point) is that they’re not only tedious and badly written – they’re totally irrilevant. I mean, try reading PK Dick “The Penultimate Truth” – originally written in 1964.’

    Hmmm. PKD was capable of writing tedious and badly written prose with the worst of them. Have you read ‘The Zap Gun’ for example? But as you say, the relevance makes even books like that well worth a read.

    That’s a seriously good list of authors you have there. If you like them, I’d recommend checking out my current favorite, Olaf Stapleton, a mostly forgotten author from the 1930s who wrote what have to be the most (literally) awesome novels ever. Check out ‘Last and First Man’…

  • 35. Philip Pilkington  |  January 25th, 2010 at 6:08 am


    The sociologists call it the “Culture Industry”. The idea is that the industry produces material for tired office workers, lawyers and minor public officials. The material has to be familiar because these people have no time/energy to put into working over new/unfamiliar material (a similar criticism could be laid against some of the “literary theory” coming out of this site… I wonder why…).

    The Culture Industry theory actually works surprisingly well in day-to-day reality. I’ve noted that doctors who have done their time in the emergency room and have moved into private practice often have an interest in real literature. I think the reason is that their brains are working properly because they generally attend various conferences etc. Then you talk to the busy middle-classer and he tells you how he’s heading to Spain that summer and he intends to tackle Joyce or Proust – of course this never happens because the poor bastards’ brains are fried from office-speak, so they reach for whatever crime trash they secretly slipped into their bags before they left.

  • 36. dogbane  |  January 25th, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Re: “characters who converse as if they’re in a play, themselves.” (Why add “comma themselves”? It’s maddening.)

    It refers back to the “backdrop…of Strindberg”; not only does the novel rip off…er…pay homage to Strindberg, the author makes the characters talk as if they are in a play as well, although the exerpted dialogue looks more like bad Sam Shepard dialogue than Strindberg.

  • 37. tim  |  January 25th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    “The author of this book is guilty of the highest of crimes, the pretension of being interesting.”
    Why is that the highest of crimes? If it’s so dull, don’t read it.
    The highest of crimes is cruelty.
    That’s the contradiction of this site: it is one of the few places you can get a hard-hitting, see through the bullshit line on events, and at the same time there’s reveling in some joe-blow Russians dying in a housefire. Why?
    I am not after edification, but I also don’t get meanness.

    About how there is a modern culture industry- it seems like implicit in this there’s an idea that before it was all independent. You don’t really think that, do you?

  • 38. Korman643  |  January 25th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    34 @Tam

    I see your point, but I still love “Zap Gun”. PKD work is broadly divided in two type of stuff: the all time, mind crushing masterpieces that leave you dizzy and change forever your life (Ubik, Maze of Death, Our Friends from Frolix 8, Clans of Alphane Moon, Man In High Castle, Do The Androids, Time Out of Joint, Flow My tears, Valis etc etc etc – and of course the best of the lot, 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch) and the stuff that maybe is not mind blowing, but still great because Dick had this great talent of putting here and there great scenes or great concepts that make reading them worth the effort. Say, Galactic Pot Healer, Dr. Bloodmoney, GamePlayer of Titan, Simulacra, Trasmigration of Timothy Archer, Counter Clock World, Comic Puppets, etc etc etc and, of course Zap Gun. EVERYONE of them has a least a single outstanding idea or scene that make it stick with you forever. Keep in mind that he was writing for Ace Books or any of those publisher who were exploiting him, taking speed to write all day and all night and pay the bills and the alimonies to ex wives, and STILL churching up stuff that was better than 99% of what you read today. if that’s not talent…

    It’s interesting to note that the same is true for PKD short stories (that a lot of people ignores). I mean, take “The Days of Perky Pat” – it’s something recycled out of Palmer Eldritch and it STILL a new angle on the same material, still fresh and awesome. And of course the wholly original short stories are even better. “Upon The Dull Earth”, “Retreat Syndrome”, “A Little Something for Us Temponauts”… I could go on forever.

    Stapledon: my favourite is “Star Maker”, it’s well written, and I understand why some people is crazy about his books, but for some reason I’ve never been a big fan of him. But that’s just me, I suppose.

    My list – I’ve forgot to add three names: Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber (because of Big Time, A Spectre is Haunting Texas, and expecially Our Lady Of Darkness – I mean, does anyone knows it?) and William Hope Hodgson (because of House on The Borderland and of course The Nightland – speaking of whom, Greg Bear has written a great novella somehow based on it – “The Way of All Ghosts”, worth finding on Internet).

    As I said before – that’s the stuff people will remember 1000 years from now…

  • 39. rick  |  January 25th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Contemporary literary novels are pretty bad…I can’t quite think of a single good one (90s? 00s? “The Possibility of an Island,” maybe). I liked “House of Leaves,” for weird brilliance. I actually think very highly of Ames’ very novelistic bits in the eXile book, they’re better than the Kerouac ilk. There’s an animal porn niche aspect to those books, but they speak to me, at least, and I simultaneously like many of the “classics.” So maybe they’re classics.

    Contemporary fiction might as well be balkanized, lifeless indie-rock, with 4 minute songs at mid-tempo and occasional crooning. No money in them, either. Not sure why publishers published the shit out of them in the 90s when nothing sold, and nothing was good, either. And those blurbs! You wouldn’t know if something WAS ACTUALLY GOOD OR NOT.

  • 40. Sloopian  |  January 25th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    John Dolan had a great way of tearing a book apart. He’d mock the writing for a few paragraphs, then dovetail into a pages-long explanation of why it’s no good with a relevant little history lesson.

    What’s the point of this review? Anyone can shit on someone else’s creation, as you’ve done here. Okay, the novel sucks, as do many others. So… point us in a different direction, or at least read the damn thing cover the cover and provide some insight, beyond namedropping Wodehouse and generically towing the eXile editorial line.

  • 41. Alex_C  |  January 25th, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Putting the litter in literature indeed.

    No wonder two of my all-time favorite “great books” are The Curve Of Binding Energy and Origins Of Radar.

  • 42. General Foods  |  January 26th, 2010 at 12:20 am

    A couple of eXile-themed novels of eXcellent quality:

    Dr. Faustus by Thomas Mann:
    A nazi composer sells his soul to Lucifer in exchange for future greatness. He bangs this syphilitic prostitute to seal the deal.

    Dr. Adder by PKD protege K.W. Jeter:
    A megalomaniac surgeon cuts pieces off of LA prostitutes to make them more attractive to perverted military bigwigs.

    Dr. Faustus has long philosophical digressions as it is narrated by this windbag ex-schoolteacher. Dr. Adder has pictures.

  • 43. Christo  |  January 26th, 2010 at 3:47 am

    What I’ve read of Pynchon is great. Wodehouse and all those SF writers you guys mention are good too.

  • 44. Starvid  |  January 26th, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Hey Eileen, you should have sent the book to me, as I actually live in Uppsala, Sweden, and just for that reason the book is likely 100 times as interesting to me as it it to any other person you know. Damn, far too many commas in that sentence.

    And if you wondered, you do need a permit for to hold a demonstration. Not to hand out flyers though.

  • 45. jbourbon  |  January 26th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    this one is probably going to end up a real disaster

  • 46. j  |  January 27th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    waste of time both in you writing and me reading about this waste of time novel.

    (angrily beats off)

  • 47. Don  |  January 29th, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Let me get this straight. You read the last couple paragraphs, then the first couple paragraphs, then a few random paragraphs, and now you feel qualified to pronounce sentence on the book, the author, and the entire field of “literature.”

    What you’re trying to pass off here as a critique tells us nothing about this work, but everything we need to know about you.

    You wasted your time writing this piece. Further, you are wasting your readers’ time. If you have nothing more to offer the world than this, we’d all be better off if you just kept it to yourself.

  • 48. Necronomic Justice  |  January 30th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Apparently he not only nicked the eXile logo, but also an SDS logo.

  • 49. Dan  |  January 31st, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    @Don: This. Also, allow me to elaborate. The eXiled is a gonzo rag (an utterly obsolete form of journalism by this point). Edgy is the only reason it still does exist. And here’s a piece of advice: ‘edgy’ is all about subtlety. It’s about cutting unnecessary corners (“Why pretend that journalism isn’t subjective, when it is?”). Reviewing a book no matter how awful without having read it, unfortunately, is the wrong kind of cutting corners, the wrong kind of ‘edgy,’ — the kind of ‘edgy’ Fox News does. Ms. Jones has done the author, herself, her readers and the eXiled a disservice. She is, as we say in the industry, a douche.

  • 50. Frank McG  |  January 31st, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Good rule of thumb for novels: if it’s in an airport store (or at least you can imagine it is), it’s garbage.

  • 51. Frank McG  |  February 2nd, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    But yeah, this article was kind of pointless. No insight or anything. You could have gotten the same effect by just copying excerpts from the book.

  • 52. basedrop  |  April 13th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Pilkington et moi.

    I once had the pleasure of be seated at the same time as one of my favorite comment authors, Philip Pilkington. I could only blush with envy on reading sentences that ended with “…hence the charges of pretension.” My dog remarked “you’re a lot like Pilkington, you both have ears.” I’m going to put that on the cover of my novel.

  • 53. Anthony Bsarah  |  December 23rd, 2010 at 9:39 am

    TO 47. Don.


    (A bit late, but whatever)

    Seriouly, did you not just read the first lines of the book. This isn’t the place to be heroic.

  • 54. Nissim  |  January 3rd, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Eileen, your review hurt. I tried posting a comment that would make it seem like I’m not bothered a lick, and that tried to turn it around and make you feel hurt and stupid. But that comment failed, and luckily for me the Almighty Exiled Censor came in and rescued me with His godly editing touch.
    I’m not worthy.

  • 55. Raven  |  May 28th, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Out of curiosity, did it occur to anyone that you might just be uninteresting readers obsessed with sci-fi and fantasy? When you read stuff like “start with plot and characters” you know you’re reading the opinion of someone who thinks that s.f is the quintessence of literature. It’s rather pointless to argue with people who may think that Toni Morrisson (as much as I dislike her novels) or David Foster Wallace are not a worthy writers or something who actually think you learn more in a james bond novel (are you fucking serious?) than in any contemporary piece. It’s call nostalgia for a past you haven’t lived, it’s a form of lunacy, not proof that you know literature.

  • 56. eric  |  October 8th, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Yes, the review is mean. But what has been done to our culture is also mean. After feeling the pain that reading moronic literature sets off in me, it is a relief to decompress by reading a review such as this, and to know that I’m not the only person in the world who *noticed* that an author is a tin-eared simpleton, that a musician has no rhythm, that an artist paints pictures of squares, etc. Such reviews take the edge off my sense of alienation.

    So thank you for trashing that novel.

Leave a Comment

(Open to all. Comments can and will be censored at whim and without warning.)


Required, hidden

Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed