Fifty shades of grey? Fifty shades of nothing, say the French. E. L. James' best-seller has now been translated into French, but literary it is not. Connoisseurs of the arts are horrified. What do you do when sleaze apparently outsells Shakespeare? It's grunge v the opera, graffiti v Renoir. This week I read that Pippa Middleton was advanced hundreds of thousands for her completely juvenile, illiterate book.
A sign of the times, I suppose. Makes me wonder why I continue to struggle to achieve something literary in a world where perversion is news and being famous is more important in a writer than the beauty of the written word. Good job Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare aren't about to submit their manuscripts today. None of them would count for much in the looks department!
I was saying all this to a French friend the other day. She had recently read a French novel, the writing of which had brought tears to her eyes. The James' saga couldn't happen in France, she said, promising to read one of my novels and even to translate it into French! Worth a try, I suppose, but I'm still sceptical it'll achieve anything positive in today's world of cash-strapped literary editors and publishers.
But, anything that will lighten my gloom would be a glimmer of hope as I contemplate the stirrings of a new novel in my fervent brain. One thing's for sure: this may be France, but the Marquis de Sade I'm not!