Literary Advice

If you were to write a novel on human vanity, and in this novel, you imagined the sheik of a wealthy desert kingdom who conceived of a plan to recreate in miniature the entire world, so that every country would become a private island, and every island hold a palace surrounded by pools and gardens, and every palace host one of the most extravagantly wealthy of the globe’s inhabitants; and if in your novel the sheik commanded all his slaves to pour sand into the ocean for nearly ten years; and if at last, abandoned by his fairweather friends, at the end of his resources and humiliated, he was forced to abandon his work, leaving it a clumsy image of the world, as if a child had drawn it; and a single house, the sheik’s own, was left amidst the sun-baked sandbanks; then I would be put in an uncomfortable position. Even if the writing was irreproachable, as I’m certain it would be, I would be forced to find a way of telling you that this kind of sublime romanticism was best left to Shelley or Borges; that the symbolism was crass and obvious and that you had best try again, exercising more subtlety.

[ Credit crunch signals the end of The World for Dubai’s multi-billion dollar property deal. ]



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