One of today's best young novelists, Ray Robertson is also one of its ablest critics. Mental Hygiene is a collection of his most entertaining, insightful, controversial, and funniest reviews and essays written over the last five years.
Believing that "writers have a responsibility to help maintain the mental hygiene of their time," Robertson, following in the footsteps of Mordecai Richler and other novelist-critics such as Anthony Burgess, Kingsley and Martin Amis and John Updike, is at the front line of contemporary literary debate. Whether castigating the bland cabal he refers to as McCanlit, poking fun at the trendy ephemera of intellectual fashion or arguing for his own unique fictional aesthetic, Robertson pulls no punches and suffers no fools.
Divided into three sections -- "Us," "Them" and "Me" -- Mental Hygiene gathers together both published and previously unpublished reviews of local and international writers as well as eight highly personal essays on the craft of fiction and the writing life in general.
Whether discussing Robertson Davies or the Rolling Stones, Wally Lamb or Bertrand Russell, Frank Zappa or Mary McCarthy, the writer's need for "willed schizophrenia" or the genesis of his own novels, Ray Robertson is always thought-provoking, frequently hilarious and never boring.
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October 19, 2009
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