I have not read Elliot Perlman’s new novel, but I was startled by the bilious tone of Peter Craven’s review (ABR, November 2003). It seems to me that whatever critical flaws the book may have could have been elaborated without applying the blowtorch as intensely and personally as Craven did. If Seven Types of Ambiguity was a polemic, Craven’s rodomontade might have been perfectly appropriate, but I thought that he was unfairly harsh. From my impressions, the book is ambitious and no doubt cost Perlman many buckets of sweat and blood to write. Is it not better to encourage literary ambition than to crush it, even when it, in Craven’s estimation, does not succeed?
Hugh Dillon, Drummoyne, NSW