I reviewed a new Finnish crime novel by a first-time author recently. I didn't like the book a bit. It was purported to be funny and hardboiled and noirish, but I was only bored - the plot got on too slowly, the characters were a bunch of clichés and there were too many racial and sexual stereotypes in the mix, some even quite hateful. My review came out last Friday in the local newspaper.
The author wrote me back today on Monday saying that I'd understood the whole thing completely wrong. The book was a parody and it was based on reality, so it was nowhere near racist or sexist.
Okay. I've read some 2,000 books in my life (the number came strictly off top of my head) and should recognize parody when I see one. Nowhere in sight here. Okay, yeah, there were some overdone characters and overwritten prose, but still I couldn't see the book as parody. And, um, yeah, there were some awkward moments when there were actual characters with supposedly funny names such as "Don Heremy" (the book is about porn business), but I didn't laugh.
I'd made one mistake for which I asked the editor to publish a correction. The book was published by a publisher that has mainly been doing vanity books, i.e. books that the author paid for. It wasn't the case here. Which actually makes me feel more sorry - did someone pay someone to write this? However I sincerely think that the publisher should've notified about this somewhere in the book - maybe with changing the name of the imprint or with notifying the reviewer in a slip with the book.