William Mayne John Rowe Townsend - Essay

John Rowe Townsend

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

William Mayne has never made any concessions to the lazy or inattentive reader: he has never written the fully-automated book. In any case, we cannot all like the same things, and even among books of comparable merit there must always be some that strike a more popular note than others. Nevertheless, the impression of Mayne as a writer of somewhat rarefied excellence—one who operates at a high literary altitude where the air is thin—still persists, and may have some justification. Re-reading many of his novels in a short time—after having previously read and admired them individually at the time of publication—I am inclined to feel that Mayne as a writer has a characteristic which deprives his work of a...

(The entire section is 1866 words.)