Anonymous, The Bible
I must say that the first few hundred pages of this manuscript really hooked me. Action-packed, they have everything today’s reader wants in a good story Sex. (lots of it, including adultery, sodomy, incest) also murder, war, massacres, and so on (…) In other words, a real blockbuster, very well structured, with plenty of twists, full of invention, with just the right amount of piety, and never lapsing into tragedy.
But as I kept on reading, I realized that this is actually an anthology, involving several writers(…) It seems to have something for everybody, but ends up appealing to nobody and acquiring the rights from all these different authors will mean big headaches, unless the editor take cares of that himself. The editor’s name, by the way, doesn’t appear anywhere on the manuscript, not even in the table of contents. Is there some reason for keeping his identity a secret ?
Marcel Proust , A la recherche du temps perdu
This is undoubtedly a serious work, perhaps too long, but as a paperback series it could sell. But it won’t do as is. It needs serious editing. (…) With plenty of good in-house work, reducing each sentence to a maximum of two or three lines, breaking up paragraphs, indenting more often, the book would be enormously improved. If the author doesn’t agree, then forget it. As it stands, the book is too -what’s the word? -asthmatic
Franz Kafka , The Trial
Nice little book. A thriller with some Hitchcock touches. The final murder, for example. It could have an audience.
But apparently the author wrote under a regime with heavy censorship. Otherwise, why all these vague references, this trick of not giving names to people or places? And why is the protagonist being put on trial? If we clarify these points and make the setting more concrete (facts are needed: facts, facts, facts), then the action will be easier to follow and suspense is assured.
James Joyce , Finnegans Wake
Please, tell the office manager to be more careful when he sends books out to be read. I’m the English-language reader, and you’ve sent me a book written in some other, godforsaken language. I’m returning it under separate cover.
Texts taken from Umberto Eco‘s satirical book Misreadings.