Something More

‘Yellow, Red’ is over-rated. There is nothing more to be said….

So maybe, just maybe, I spoke too soon. I drew my dagger early. I jumped the blessed gun. Anticipation got the better of me.

No need, however, to throw a guilty fit. I admit: new information has come my way – information which lends a different light to proceedings. But when I say a ‘different light’ – do I mean that I am wrong? Not at all. I mean, simply, that there is another way at looking at my correctness. My voice told the story well enough. Another voice, however, does not drown the sense of the original song. The additional line it offers, in fact, merely strengthens the sound.

All of which is a somewhat roundabout way of saying that the author himself, of all people, appears to be on my side. Yes, oh yes indeed. Jean-Paul Xengho agrees with Georgy Riecke over the peculiar popularity of his novel Yellow, Red. ‘Why does everyone think it a masterpiece?‘ he questions in a recent article, before adding: ‘it clearly isn’t‘. Later he elaborates: ‘in my opinion, the book is an un-holy mess. Any editor worth his salt would have cut it down by a thousand pages at least. Most publishers would never have accepted it – I doubt I would have. Indeed, I have always struggled to get through the damn thing. Can’t abide it in any form. Never do readings of it. Hate it, in all honesty. It’s worthless’.

Ah, but it doesn’t end there (if only it did!). I’d like to think that Xengho’s moment of self-realisation was suggestive of a deeper problem: i.e. the fact that he simply cannot write. Instead, the author seems to have dismissed it as but a temporary obstacle. So Yellow, Red was ‘an un-holy mess’? So it isn’t even remotely the masterpiece everybody thinks it is? Never mind: Xengho has other books up his sleeve. And here’s the worrying part: his other books sound, on the surface of things, as if the lesson has not, in fact, been learnt at all. Inchoate Shift (due early next year) is described as ‘a three-thousand page, multi-faceted romp through twenty-first century culture and technology‘. Is it, perchance, the ‘masterpiece’ that everybody mistook Yellow, Red for? The author, for one, is sure of it….


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