Britain Has a New Crown Jewel

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Finally—or, So soon?—Sherry Jones has found a publisher for her lusty Islamic love story (and it has its own heavily-sourced and lengthy Wikipedia entry!):

[British] Publisher Martin Rynja (of British publishing house Gibson Square), describing himself as "completely bowled over by the novel and the moving love story it portrays," called Jones's book "an important barometer of our time":

"In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear," Rynja said in a press release. "As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate. If a novel of quality and skill that casts light on a beautiful subject we know too little of in the West, but have a genuine interest in, cannot be published here, it would truly mean that the clock has been turned back to the dark ages."

Leave it to the Brits, with their libel-happy laws and their magazine police, to go where Americans dare not read. There's a first time for everything, I suppose.

Michael C. Moynihan on Jones here. Yours truly on Jones here and here. Ron Bailey here on the type of readers Random House didn't want to risk offending.

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  1. Yay, limeys! Go, limeys!

    ?

    Hmm. Well, I’ve always thought they bore a more, um, congenital adhesion to liberty than us Americans, even if they never fucking act like it.

  2. I’ll echo the Go limeys! sentiment. As happens with all of these protests and cave-ins, I am all the more interesetd in reading a book I’d never have considered otherwise.

  3. I can’t wait to not read it!

    And it’s not “go limeys”, it’s “go Gibson Square”.

  4. Yeah, just wait till the book is banned as hate speech.

  5. I still don’t want to read it, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll end up buying it, just to stick it to the self-censorers.

  6. If it isn’t a government doing the censoring, then I don’t care. We live our lives and we take our chances. Good for Gibson Square if they think it’s a money-maker.

  7. I still don’t want to read it, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll end up buying it, just to stick it to the self-censorers.

    Only I’m so cynical as to believe the publishing industry colluded in not publishing so as to drum up interest and drive sales when it was. I bet all the publishing houses are getting a cut.

  8. Sigh…

    Another book about bloody religion. BBOOORRRIIINNNGGG!!!

  9. If it isn’t a government doing the censoring, then I don’t care.

    I half-agree. I care most about that, but I’m also really bothered by “self-censorship” in response to the threat of violence.

  10. Winthorpe,

    Did you mean boring to you, or boring to the public?

    If you mean boring to the public, how do you account for the popularity of certain books about religion – not just the Bible, but Tom Paine’s Rights of Man, the atheist tomes of Dawkins and Hitchens, and of course *The DaVinci Code?*

    Or, for that matter, those Americans who bought books about Islam after 9/11?

  11. Can I go home now?

  12. There’s the infidel who blasphemed our religion of peace! KILL HIM!!

  13. Mad Max,

    Most definitely the former – purely subjective.

    From the 9th floor of my office I can see out over Brick Lane, the moniker of Monica Ali’s novel about Islam/sex/repression blahblahblah.

    I read it. It sucked.

    The publishing industy in the UK might pretend to have balls but it always picks the safest, almost edgy but just a load of naf novel, written by a quasi-attractive lady who’s going to do the rounds on daytime TV and make us say ‘gosh, like, women should be liberated’. Then the primates will start moaning and another book will have to get published ad nauseum.

    This is just me being a knob (guess who can’t get their novel published??). Anyway, I’ll pick it up, but it better have some proper grot in it. If I’m buying a book with sex in it, I expect at least a couple of demis whilst reading.

    Good quote. Evelyn Waugh on Lolita:

    ‘It is without merit, except as smut. On that count, it is highly exciting.’

  14. Good quote. Evelyn Waugh on Lolita:

    ‘It is without merit, except as smut. On that count, it is highly exciting.’

    Nonsense. Having read Lolita as well as a number of smut novels, I can say that anyone looking for smut is going to be sorely disappointed in reading Lolita. I suspect Waugh has never read either.

  15. Publius,

    I couldn’t care less about the merits of what Waugh says, it’s how he says it.

    That’s the good bit.

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