Amongst the most recent reviews to have re-appeared over at Underneath the Bunker we may find Sebastien Cheraz’s reaction to Jarni Kolovsky’s …And I Lost: a novel made famous by its rugged simplicity – and by the unbelievable regularity with which reviewers mistype its title. How many times, for instance, have I seen And I Lost…? Too many to count. Also: And, I Lost, And: I Lost, And… I Lost, And I… Lost, ……And I Lost, And.I.Lost, And… I… Lost…. The list could go on: critics have been creative in their idiocy (as critics almost always are).
Lesser writers might shrug off these middling misptints: Kolovsky, however, has never taken kindly to such lapses. Rage is the word that scuttles across the paving stones of one’s mind. Pure rage. ‘It takes him days to recover,’ his literary agent admitted to me once: ‘he simply cannot abide the error in question. Cannot abide it at all‘.
One may wonder why. Is it, perhaps, on account of the time he takes over his titles? Most probably. Kolovsky is one of a large brood of writers for whom naming a book is a deeply serious endeavour – one that times up as much time as writing the book itself. To blithely misquote the title of a Kolovsky novel is, therefore, an act of treachery: it shows a fundamental lack of respect for the writer and his craft. Rest assured – every one of the three dots that precedes the three words in the title of …And I Lost has been put there for a very good reason. These are thoughtful dots.