Will “the novel is dead… because mine aren’t popular anymore” Self has taken to his version of Twitter, a Times weekend Q&A, to have a pop at the bestselling, award-winning author Sally Rooney. (Who, at 27, has been nominated for the Booker, and won Irish Novel of the Year and the Costa Book Award for her critically-acclaimed 2018 book Normal People.)
“You only need to look at the kind of books being lauded at the moment to see how simple-minded they are,” he whined, seemingly unaware of how “simple-minded” this plotline of washed-up old grouch dismissing young successful woman for being unserious is…
“What’s now regarded as serious literature would, 10 or 20 years ago, have been regarded as young-adult fiction,” he ranted. “I read a few pages of the Sally Rooney book. It may say things that millennials want to hear reflected back at them, but it’s very simple stuff with no literary ambition that I can see.”
“I don’t mean to be overly critical, but in terms of literary history, it does seem a bit of a regression. If you consider that Nabokov’s Lolita was on the New York Times bestseller list for nine months, it’s a different order of literature.”
Ah yes, Lolita. A proper, serious Genius Man Book. Not like all that millennial tripe, which doesn’t even indulge in child rape! Pathetic.
Ironically, Self goes on in the interview to fume “I have published, like, 1,500 f***ing pages of serious fiction in the past 7 years, so that’s what’s happened to me.”
Got that? Self’s recent novels are “serious,” even if no one notices them – whereas young female novelists defining a generation are “simple.”
But the BEST part of this interview with a Very Heavyweight Novelist is that it was in order to plug Self’s promotional “Chinese new year fortune macarons” at posh Mayfair restaurant Hakkasan.
Now that’s serious fiction. I hope you’re paying attention, Sally.