Writers are covetous. They see someone else in the paper or on television or on the cover of Time magazine and you think well that should have been me. Sames goes for those million dollar advances one hears of (although it seems one hears less of them now) but it kicks off all sorts of authornomics that run the realm of: I must be doing something wrong or there is something everyone knows that I don't. A questioning of ones' reason for writing then rears it's ugly head.
Take Jonathan Franzen. Top of the mountain. His book is being heralded as the literary event of the decade. Well...the decade is ending or beginning however you want to look at it. So he is either first out of the box or pulling up with a final sprint leaving all contemporaries in the dust. Either way he is for now at the top of the literary mountain. Reading about his lifestyle does one no good in looking for clues as to how he made this arduous climb.
He likes to watch birds and is uninterested in media and pushing his book. Wow. Now that is different from our blog-to-you-drop author ethos that every midlist author must come to terms with. The hell of it all is you don't know really where you are in the pecking order until someone like Franzen comes along. Then you realize you have a lot of pecking to go. He hangs out in San Diego and New York. Top of the mountain baby...does it get any better than that?
So is the book any good? Who knows. We will all have to decide for ourselves since the literary community has closed ranks and it has been deemed sent from on high. It happens. Critics can destroy you or they can lift you to the heavens and a lot of the times they run in packs. Franzen has been lifted to the heavens on their shoulders to the top of the mountain. His novel will tell the tale.