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April 23, 2007 | by  | in Books |
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My Lord You and Palm Court

My Lord You is the typical story of a bored house-wife becoming disillusioned with her trophy husband and seeking comfort in a fling with a tormented artist, because he awakens her inner spirit or some such nonsense. The twist being, this guy is almost solely represented by his big brown dog. Actually a dog. As in an actual canine.

Tricksy, I know.

Palm Court is a standard story of the good, honest, hard-working guy who gets played out really hard by his first true love. He goes on to make it big in the world and she comes crying back to him realising what she gave up to be with the hot Italian.

He realises she’s nothing special, and he’s better off without her. Why do we continue to read, and reread the same predictable storylines? Why do authors continue to whip the weary nags of “Tried and True” and leave the comfortable boundaries of new ideas suitably undisturbed? Why do we as audiences eagerly devour these tales, rehashed, repackaged and churned out under the guise of new literature? Is it because we enjoy the feelings of haughty superiority we derive from “guessing” what will happen next, and inevitably being proven correct?

I think I may have stumbled across the hidden formula of mass fiction production. I will be a quibillionaire.

Both stories in this volume are lamely predictable (saw the dog coming a mile away), lacking in emotive resonance, and not even particularly well executed. In spite of this, I still enjoyed reading this book. Written (as all good short stories should be) in an engaging and mildly entertaining manner, it managed to grasp even my erratic attention for long enough to read from cover to cover, and on that basis alone I give it my thumb-print of approval.

JAMES SALTER, published by Picador Shots

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