You know, I’ve never gotten around to reading any of Anne Rice’s books, though I know she must be doing something right (because so many people go ga-ga for them). Her latest book, however, seems to have drawn up a storm of bad reviews on Amazon.com. Now, if my books ever get the kind of reviews she’s getting for Blood Canticle, I would be crushed, but undeterred. If, however, my books were getting those reviews and I was as successful as Anne Rice, I would also be laughing all the way to the bank. Which is why I think Anne Rice’s reply (check out the middle of the page) to her disappointed readers shows a remarkable amount of…well, snottiness. She’s clearly angry, but to say this:
Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art. Now, if it doesn’t appeal to you, fine. You don’t enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies. I’ll never challenge your democratic freedom to do so, and yes, I’m answering you, but for what it’s worth, be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses.
But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book. There are things to be said. And there is pleasure to be had. And readers will say wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are. There are readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of each of the chronicles which you so flippantly condemn. They can and do talk circles around you…these things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you post.
and – wow – this:
And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art.
smacks not of simple snotty behavior, but actual arrogance. True, I’m just beginning my career in this business, so maybe my perspective is a little different – but gosh, bad reviews – while unbelievably hurtful – should not whisk away every ounce of good grace and restraint. Anne Rice is a very successful woman who should be proud of the work she’s done. But if that many people dislike her book, maybe she should ask herself why. It would be the humble thing to do.