Sunday, 23 October 2011

There's a very fine interview with Art Spiegelman by Rachel Cooke at the Guardian on the subject of Metamaus, the 25 year anniversary book about the book.
My favourite part of the book, though, is the section in which Spiegelman reproduces the rejection letters he received when his agent, Jonathan Silverman, first sent Maus out to publishers. Oh dear. This is embarrassing. Behold New York's literary taste-makers acting like a bunch of cowardy custards. "Thank you for letting me see Maus," says Hilary Hinzmann, of Henry Holt. "The idea behind it is brilliant, but it never, for me, quite gets on track." Gerald Howard, at Penguin, is a little more up front, but still, he won't quite take all the blame for turning it down: "In part, my passing has to do with the natural nervousness one has in publishing something so very new and possibly (to some people) off-putting. But more crucially I don't think Maus is a completely successful work, in that it seems in some way conventional."

...But unimaginable suffering, Spiegelman wants us to understand, doesn't make a person better; it just makes them suffer.

..."Having a writer in the family is to have a traitor in it;

"Our big problem when we did RAW was the business end of things," he says. "We found it difficult to get up before the banks closed."

Some books want to be petted. The books that have a right to be books make use of their bookness. Graphic novels – who knew that term would stick! – continue to do well because they use their bookness.
Dammit, I can't remember when he was last this quotable.


Anonymous Chalks said...

Great interview. Who'd of thought that the intial book deal would have been so elusive?

23 October 2011 at 21:25:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Graphic novels – who knew that term would stick!"
I have just returned from the New York Comic Con, which I went to for work as one of the three imprints I handle publishes Graphic Novels. I found that in every conversation where I referred to the other two imprints I had to say we publish 'regular novels', 'novel novels', 'novels, just with words' or at a push 'prose novels' but this always seemed too formal. The term 'novel' no longer cut it as an an effective description in that environment.

Ben Smith

Perhaps next time I should just say, 'prose fiction'. But for some reason am resistant to be dropping 'prose' all the time. I'm having the 'graphic novel' argument in reverse it seems.

24 October 2011 at 10:21:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous such a good page said...

So this is how we give a review for a book. This is a great help in making us understand how making and creating a good book is done.

23 August 2012 at 00:02:00 GMT-5  

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