Authors address Co Dublin festival


THERE IS a “total resistance” to taking comic fiction seriously, Man-Booker winning author Howard Jacobson told a packed theatre in Dún Laoghaire last night.

There was “a belief that when you are laughing you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing”, the The Finkler Question author told an audience at the opening night of the Co Dublin town’s Mountains to Sea book festival.

Jacobson bemoaned the “religiosity” that had crept into the novel with readers not satisfied unless they had a “melancholic experience”. He also criticised a pattern of reviewers and readers wanting to find the hero likeable.

“Who said the hero has to be likeable…? Unlikeablity is such a marvellous thing to write about,” he said. “What’s nice about King Lear? Who wants to spend an evening with the Macbeths?” he quipped.

He read from his latest book, Zoo Time, which features a failed author.

Jacobson shared the stage last night with Irish Skippy Dies author Paul Murray, who read an extract from a book he is working on, also about a failed writer. Murray said he thought it would be fun to write about an author, at a time of a “blurring of lines” as the writer was expected to tweet and become more and more like “a dancing monkey”.