Forming a Pattern

Yet another adjunct to the question of book-naming (see here for more). As this review reminds us, Ukrainian novelist Jan Zbigwurt is another one of those writers to have formed a titling habit.

Following the success of his debut novel, Calling the Shots (1989), he named his second Taking the Bullets (1993). There was much chatter as to what would come next: Riding the Waves? Jumping the Fences? Greasing the Pole? Frustrated, perhaps, by all this talk, Zbigwurt took another route entirely, opting instead for the rather cumbersome Well of Course There Isn’t No God (1997). The change of tack in the title seemed to echo problems occuring within the covers: the book was a great disappointment, to readers and critics alike. Zbigwurt’s career hung in the balance, until he re-emerged, in 2001, with the wonderful Smiling at Pylons. Normal service was resumed, but with an added twist. Fans of obscure european literature breathed a collective sigh of relief.


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