Two pieces on Toni Morrison: one, a lukewarm review, by Lionel Shriver in the Telegraph, and one on the dangers of celebrity in the Guardian.
All writers, to a greater or lesser extent, have to have a private and a public persona. But real fame complicates this already tender balance. Once an author has made that leap in to the public gaze, regardless of their reputation and their authorial qualities, their reputation is in danger of taking a nosedive. Somehow, outside of the rarefied literary community, they appear less serious, less important as cultural figures â€“ as Martin Amis, post-teeth, discovered. The same fate befell Salman Rushdie as his marriage and New York socialising became marginally more interesting than his increasingly turgid novels. Fame is a prism that alters both perception of writers and the writers themselves, and rarely is this for the good. Toni Morrison is perhaps the exception.