As I mentioned yesterday, from the moment that profile of Charles Bock appeared in Sunday’ New York Times Magazine, some of you were asking me how Bock managed to get so much attention—but some of you were particularly bewildered because you were unimpressed by what you’d read or heard or heard about Beautiful Children. As the most charitable of that strain of emails put it, “Couldn’t the Times muster evidence that Bock’s book is indeed one of the most anticipated of the spring season beyond saying that it made a men’s magazine hot list and that the cover has ‘glittering foil?’ Print run? Film rights? Optimistic quotes from Sessalee Hensley? Anyone?”
In all fairness, the profile did quote the nice blurb from A.M. Homes, plus all those more general accolades from Bock’s literary friends in the final grafs. Anyway, I honestly don’t have an opinion on this yet, because I’m still looking forward to getting the novel and making up my own mind about it. I will say this much, though: Remember that the last time Liesl Schillinger staked out the front page of the NY Times Book Review to enthuse about an ambitious debut novelist, she chose Marisha Pessl—so if that example is anything to go by, Bock can expect a radical divide in reader reactions. Still, there are worse trajectories for an author to replicate.