Terrence Malick’s new film The Tree of Life played at Cannes this week, and there are suddenly dozens and dozens of reviews all over the Internet. The differences in viewers’ reactions are striking, sometimes even confounding. And many of their responses read more like reactions than reviews.
But some reviewers have taken the time to think deeply about the film, about what it might mean, about the risky decisions that the director made in juxtaposing scenes about the origins of the cosmos and scenes about a family in Smithville, Texas in the early 1950s.
I wonder if Malick pays any attention to reviews. I doubt that he does. He seems to be focused on the work.
Me? I do read reviews of my work, partly because I love those moments when readers discover ideas in the stories that didn’t occur to me as I was writing. I also learn from those reviews… sometimes…
This week, just as there is an explosion of reviews for The Tree of Life, so there is an explosion of new reviews for The Ale Boy’s Feast, the last book in my fantasy series called The Auralia Thread. That’s because the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group hosted a “blog tour.”
For a novelist like me, a blog tour can be like a week-long party. The publisher sends free copies of my latest book to a long list of bloggers, on the condition that they will then blog about their experience of it. When they do, a whole crop of colorful opinions bursts into view.
If the readers take the time to read the whole thing and turn in thoughtful criticism, the experience is not only enjoyable but immensely rewarding. If they just read the book and say, “I liked it!” or “I didn’t!”, well, it’s a little disappointing.
But this tour has been full of encouragement for me, as even those readers who read the fourth book of the series first seem to have enjoyed the experience in spite of some inevitable confusion.
So, if you’re curious about the CSFF Blog Tour, peruse the various articles on these sites. Sometimes, the bloggers have written two or three times about different aspects of the book.
I also invited those bloggers to send me questions about the book, and when they did, I sent them answers by video. So watch for those blog entries, where the readers have posted my video responses.
Many thanks to all of the readers who gave thoughtful attention to The Ale Boy’s Feast!
And if I missed anybody’s links here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSFF Blog Tour
√√√John W. Otte
√√√Rachel Starr Thomson