A Moral Dilemma

virgilio-dias-universitc3a1ria-2011-o-s-t-60-x-60Briefly today as life becomes no less hectic.  I need advice.  Tomorrow I have to go to a meeting which will be chaired by a friend of mine whose husband has just published his latest novel to what can only be described as something less than critical acclaim. I haven’t had time to read it yet, so I can’t pass my own opinion on it (which may not turn out to be any more favourable than that of the critics), do I mention it at all?  All thoughts on the matter gratefully received.

22 thoughts on “A Moral Dilemma

  1. Lucy Brazier February 14, 2018 / 7:08 am

    If this is a close friend, then I would say something like : ‘I hope (husband) isn’t too down about those bad reviews. Can’t please everyone! Fantastic that his new book is out!’ If the friend is more of an acquaintance then I wouldn’t mention it unless they bring it up first – then focus on the achievement of getting the book out there (that IS a huge achievement) and steer clear of talking about the critics. Hope this helps, good luck!


    • Café Society February 14, 2018 / 9:50 am

      Thanks, Lucy. Part of the problem is that this is an international award winning novelist who could pretty much guarantee publication whatever the book had been like. In the group we move in there is no pretending that we haven’t seen the reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lucy Brazier February 14, 2018 / 12:10 pm

        Ah, tricky. But if he is a novelist of that level, I’m sure he understands that not every book is going to be a hit. Maybe he isn’t too riled by it. Perhaps the best thing is to let her bring it up first and see how the land lies from there.


  2. A Life in Books February 14, 2018 / 9:13 am

    I think I’d leave it up to someone else to mention it. Not having read it yourself is a blessing. Good luck!


  3. Malachi February 14, 2018 / 9:36 am

    The truth seems harmless (and is always less trouble in the long run): “Congratulations on the new novel – haven’t had a chance to read it yet. How’s it going?” If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, get onto Amazon before the meeting. We’ve all been there.


    • Café Society February 14, 2018 / 9:53 am

      I think I’m actually going to postpone reading it until the first wave of disappointment is over. Perhaps everyone will be thinking a little less emotionally by then.


  4. Margaret February 14, 2018 / 9:37 am

    Awkward! Play it by ear and see how you feel at the time. It may be best to be honest and say what you said here. And you may not agree with the critics. Good luck!


    • Café Society February 14, 2018 / 9:56 am

      Part of the problem, Margaret, is that I (and the book world in general) raved about his last novel. It throws this one into such relief. I wish I hadn’t read the reviews because they have set me up for a real disappointment.


      • Margaret February 14, 2018 / 10:38 am

        I was thinking – do you have a copy of his book/


  5. Elle February 14, 2018 / 9:41 am

    I’d recommend a congratulations on the fact of publication. If they bring up the topic of reviews (and only if they bring it up), a “can’t please everyone!” and a reiterated congrats. Getting as far as publication is a big deal in itself, after all!


    • Café Society February 14, 2018 / 9:59 am

      Unfortunately Elle, this is a writer who could pretty much guarantee publication. In the circumstances congratulations might come over the wrong way.


      • Elle February 14, 2018 / 10:40 am

        Oh. That’s awkward. (Desperately want to know who it is now, because I’m the worst.) Maybe say nothing, then!


  6. kaggsysbookishramblings February 14, 2018 / 10:56 am

    Could be tricky.. Echoing others it might be best to wait and see if others bring it up and what they say and just chime in. I would definitely let others lead any conversation about it rather than initiating it.


    • Café Society February 18, 2018 / 5:28 pm

      I kept my mouth shut, Karen and so did everyone else. Fortunately, it was a very busy agenda and so it do\I don’t look too much as if there was something we were all avoiding talking about.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. smithereens February 14, 2018 / 12:49 pm

    I’d say, since you haven’t read the book, don’t mention the bad reviews. You could comment how busy his husband must be with the book release, assuming it was a recent event.


  8. BookerTalk February 14, 2018 / 10:26 pm

    i would be a real coward I’m afraid and hope that someone else would be the first to bring up the topic. Since it’s going to be expected you’ll have seen the reviews and will know they are not what he wants, you can be sympathetic.


    • Café Society February 18, 2018 / 5:30 pm

      First week in February, Smithereens. Fortunately, the subject didn’t come up and one or two of us breathed a sigh of relief.


    • Café Society February 18, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      We were all cowards, Karen and no one mentioned it. Fortunately, it was a busy meeting and so it wasn’t that noticeably the elephant in the room.


      • BookerTalk February 20, 2018 / 10:35 pm

        Phew, by the time of the next meeting it will likely have been forgotten about one hopes


  9. Desperate Reader February 15, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    Hope it went okay. Bit late but I think I would have acknowledged the bad reviews and hoped they weren’t taking them to personally. You have the perfect excuse for not having read the book yet, so at least you can’t be asked for your own opinion on it.


    • Café Society February 18, 2018 / 5:39 pm

      We all tactfully avoided the subject and got through the morning. Our next meeting isn’t for six weeks, when hopefully feelings will be a little less raw.


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