Wed, Dec 24, 2003 - Page 8 News List


Thanks for the good word

I want to express my gratitude to Bradley Winterton for setting the record straight in his sympathetic review of my novel A Taipei Mutt ("A shaggy dog's story about the city of Taipei," Dec. 14, page 18). For several years now I'd begun to suspect I was just a bookish flake, a would-be satirist writing in an outmoded style, a harmless Bible-quoting eccentric trapped in a world of fashion designers and marketing experts. I'd thought I was a mediocre writer at best. Some of my friends seemed to agree with me on this.

But things have changed. Reading Winterton's review, I now discover that I am a "hip, freeranging literary intellectual" with a "considerable control of style." As anyone can imagine, I'm grateful to learn this about myself. It even makes me think of trying to pen another novel. I was almost beginning to consider my recent novel A Taipei Mutt mainly a matter of wasted paper.

I had no idea Winterton's review was coming. I noticed the blurb on the Taipei Times cover in a 7-Eleven while out buying a bottle of milk. As the milk warmed on the newspaper rack next to me I read through the review and saw that Winterton understood precisely what I was trying to accomplish in the book.

He'd picked up the tone and even managed to pinpoint some of the influences that have shaped me as a writer: this regardless of the fact that these names (Rabelais, Swift, Kafka) aren't mentioned in the novel. A beginning novelist couldn't hope for a more perceptive reviewer.

I've long been reading Bradley Winterton's reviews and thought of trying to get him a copy of my novel. He got to it on his own, probably buying it because of its title. I know that he has long championed Taipei as one of the most vibrant cities in Asia. I agree with him on Taipei's advantages -- the city has been my home for years.

As a writer in English it's good to know that here in Taiwan one can find sympathetic readers. Winterton's review in the Taipei Times has gotten my novel to many new readers who would never have learned of it otherwise.

Eric Mader-Lin


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