Doing It His Way

Adam Mars-Jones

  • Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard by Timothy Mo
    Paddleless, 286 pp, £13.99, April 1995, ISBN 0 9524193 0 0

Was it Randall Jarrell who defined a novel as a long piece of prose fiction with something wrong with it? By that yardstick, Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard is a novel thousands of times over. Timothy Mo has decided to go solo with this book, and has set up his own press for the purpose. This is not vanity publishing as that phrase is normally understood (Mo has in the past made money for himself and his publishers) but vanity certainly seems to come into it. What was intended as a declaration of independence reads as an inadvertent tribute to the missing – to the many people who, in the case of a conventionally published book, intervene with their skills between the originating ego of the novelist and the bookshop of final destination.

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