Tuesday, February 17, 2004

You Know, I Just Make This Shit Up When Things Get Slow Up On the 140th Street Wholesale Coke Market I Get Bored at Work:
Mr. Eggers, whose memoir, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," made him a literary celebrity, chose to post his review as "a reader from St. Louis, MO." But the review appeared under the name "David K Eggers" on Amazon's Canadian site on Monday, and Mr. Eggers confirmed by e-mail that he had written it.

"I've done that one or two times before, when I like a book and the reviews on Amazon seem bizarre," Mr. Eggers said. "In this case I just tried to bring back some balance."

Michael Jackman of the Alliance, which champions "underground writing" and has been critical of contemporary writers' focus on themselves rather than the wider world, called the presumption that his group had written the anonymous reviews "the height of arrogance."

"It's interesting that they find some negative reviews and assume that the reason for it must be partisan ax-grinding and not real taste," Mr. Jackman said. "I mean, there's no accounting for taste, is there?" Whether it is arrogance, paranoia or simply common sense, positive reviews come under suspicion, too.

The ULA is good enough to provide the text of the dodgy Eggers review (which turns out to be mostly an attack on the ULA:
"The Truth, August 27, 2003 Reviewer: A reader from St. Louis, MO --- "Readers beware: Heidi Julavits is one of the editors of The Believer, a new book review. In a recent issue, they ran an article about something called the Underground Literary Alliance, which is basically two guys who can't get their fiction published. Because they're so frustrated, they spend lots of time saying that anyone who does get published is "well-connected" or such rot. In their view, no one in the world who's been had a book out in the last couple decades deserved to. They have been known to disrupt readings, and to send threatening mail to writers. They're pretty much the crazed stalkers of the literary world. One of their tactics is to get on Amazon and make psychotic claims about every living author's unworthiness to have their books in print. Because Julavits published an unflattering article about the ULA, she's being singled out for special punishment by these sad little loonies. So please ignore the strange reviews on this page. This book lives up to all of its great reviews. It's one of the best books of the year."

[And, yeah, I know I'm three days late to the party, and didn't actually add anything new with this post. Fuck off. I was busy.]

[New York Times--Amazon Glitch Unmasks War of Reviewers]

[Underground Literary Alliance--Celebrity Paranoia Exposed!]