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11 February 2019

Will Self knocks “simple” Sally Rooney – in interview plugging his promotional macarons

“It’s very simple stuff with no literary ambition that I can see.”

By Media Mole

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.”

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Ah yes, Lolita. A proper, serious Genius Man Book. Not like all that millennial tripe, which doesn’t even indulge in child rape! Pathetic.

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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.