When Books Die: 15 Essays
Finlay Lloyd, $25 pb, 149 pp
‘Ours is a time when monstrous book-merchandising conglomerates ... are into readers like humpbacks into plankton.’ So thunders James Grieve in the third of fifteen essays in the slim but satisfying When Books Die. All respond to the title, the ‘subordinate clause premising a prediction’. The consensus here is that the book is unkillable, but Grieve looks on the dark side. Swatting a mosquito will never eradicate the fever, he writes. ‘The lethal virus nourished in the putrid medium of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion continues to flourish and kill ...’ If he could, Grieve would eradicate the works of Nostradamus, Gibran and David Irving. He mounts a powerful case for the crime of ‘perverting the course of truth’ to be entered into our statutes.