„A Writer in 10 lessons” – a Polish translation of this French book is what my mum got me for my birthday being familiar with my life-long dream of becoming a writer.
As you may well know writers do not make the best family members, or people in general. Before the digital era only the people working in publishing knew the full extent of how crazy and unbalanced most writers were. Now with self-publishing in full swing and authors being told to ‘market’ themselves and engage in social media the Pandora’s box has been opened wide. Not a day goes by without some public twitter meltdown or a goodreads forum display of psychosis and paranoia.
I wouldn’t blame you if you started thinking that there is too much crazy and not enough talent. Especially the delusions of grandeur kind of crazy – which is what the narrator, Philippe Dechine, of this little novel seems to suffer from. Philippe(the author’s name sake) tells us the story of his literary career, from the moment he decided to be a writer after having failed as a superhero, through first successes, finding a publisher and even receiving an award for his novel ‘The Metaphysics of a Dog’.
The whole book is not meant to do more than offer some comic relief when we read about Philippe’s unwavering faith in his own genius, despite obvious setbacks (obvious to us, but interpreted as blessings by our hapless narrator). It would be funnier if I hadn’t known people who actually act like that in all seriousness.
The book seems to be some sort of a grotesque auto-ironic confession because Philipe Segur actually did write a novel titled ‘The Metaphysics of a Dog’. How very meta of you, Philipe.
I did like it, although the comical exaggeration eventually becomes repetitive and predictable.