I must admit I love it when an author slaps another author down - especially when they make a bit of a prat of themselves while doing it. Especially when they risk committing career suicide.
Which is exactly what Nicholas Sparks has done, after revealing - among other things - that he's not the biggest fan of Cormac McCarthy:
"Cormac McCarthy? Horrible...This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written."
Sparks was referring to McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian - the same novel that Time magazine voted as being one of the top 100 English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005, and that finished as runner-up in the 2006 New York Times poll of the most important American fiction of the last 25 years. The same novel that - as far as I understand - is widely regarded as McCarthy's finest work.
Of course, Sparks is entitled to his opinion...though he really ought to have kept it to himself - attacking other authors (especially those with the stature of McCarthy) is generally considered to be poor form; you can only really get away with it if you're a highly successful and respected author in your own right (i.e, Stephen King dismissing Stephanie Meyer, and Terry Pratchett having a dig at J. K. Rowling). The general online reaction to Sparks's comment involves repeated use of the word 'douchebag'.
Sparks can't have any complaints: he hardly comes across well in the interview. At times, he sounds alarmingly like that renowned ego-monster, Terry Goodkind:
"There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do."Sure, no one else is writing novels about people falling in love and then losing each other. Sparks must be some kind of genius to come up with such an original, groundbreaking premise. As if that wasn't enough, Sparks actually has the audacity to compare himself with Hemingway:
"A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That's what I write," he says, putting it back. "That's what I write."I doubt it. The only person that writes like Hemingway is Hemingway. Still, at least Sparks acknowledges his influences:
"I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides."Come on...I mean, seriously. Likening yourself to the great ancient Greek tragedians is just...well, it's laughable.
Perhaps Sparks should stop writing his romance novels - sorry, love stories, to use his own term - and write a book called "How to Destroy your Reputation in Thirty Seconds", since he's clearly an expert on the subject.