A few thoughts about reviewing Imaginary Cities by Darran Anderson for TQC

I’ve been busy reading and writing reviews lately, but everything seems to be directed at the future, scheduled for publication at online literary journals. It’s all good, but you put so much work in and then have to wait to share your thoughts and engage in conversation about the book. My review of Darran Anderson’s monumental Imaginary Cities, published earlier this week in the Spring 2017 issue of The Quarterly Conversation is a case in point. This extended essay on the idea of the city, in all of its possible and impossible incarnations, does not readily lend itself to the confines of a critical review… I know, I’ve had a look around. Originally published in the UK in 2015 (Influx Press), my piece has been written in anticipation of the North American release from University of Chicago Press next month. As I struggled to beat this essay into submission, I cast an eyeball at prior reviews. After all, it is already a well-known and well-loved work. And I was relieved to see that the best anyone can do is skim the surface of Anderson’s rambling, eclectic, and immensely readable tome.

So, without further ado, here is a link to my attempt to review Imaginary Cities. I wrote it back in early January—I think it took about two weeks, and even then I still felt I was sending Scott Esposito a bundle of superlatives at the end of the day.

And while you’re over there, have a look around, there are some great articles and reviews to check out!

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

10 thoughts on “A few thoughts about reviewing Imaginary Cities by Darran Anderson for TQC”

  1. Nice review, Joe! I am finding the editing process with the online journals rather grueling. I think I can only handle a few a year at this point. I can see why you took a break from writing them for a while!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit that with a few exceptions, I tend to get minimal edits on my reviews, but I learned a lot from my earliest submissions, especially my review for 3:AM. A copy editing course and the experience of editing for The Scofield has also been extraordinarily helpful. That said, I spend a great deal of time writing and editing myself and until I am done with a review I feel totally trapped in the book and the writing! Did Doug ever send you his reviewers’ package? I found that to be the most insightful and valuable advice for writing reviews that I have ever come across.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a great review Joe; I haven’t read the book (but would now like to) but you seem to capture the essence of it as something of a meandering, intelligent and insightful conversation, wide-ranging and surprising in its twists and turns but always interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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