If I get tears in my eyes when I read a good review of Touch and Go, does it mean I care too much what reviewers say? . . . or that I’ve been trying for success for too long? . . . or that I’m not jaded enough yet? Probably all of the above.
This week, Publisher’s Weekly gave Touch and Go a starred review that blew me away. The first line reads: “Nodine’s cinematic novel deserves to be hailed as one of the year’s finest fiction debuts.”
I love that word, “hailed.” When I saw it in that sentence, I immediately pictured chunks of ice flung from the sky, pelting me and my novel. When my boys were young, back when it was still an illicit thrill for them to say bad words, they loved it when pings of hail spattered on our rooftop, because we would all scamper to the window, point outside, and say, “What the hail!”
And the review’s second word: a “cinematic” novel? The irony! Touch and Go is narrated by a young man with no perception of light. How can a blind man tell a cinematic tale? How can a novel that has no images be filled with imagery? I love it.
And finally: “One of the year’s finest fiction debuts.” I’m not just a little humbled by this. To be ushered down toward the front row after not getting into the auditorium for so long — well, I’m not sure I’m wearing the right clothes.
As I was reading the review aloud to my wife Shelby, I made it about halfway through before I had to stop and wipe my eyes like a sap. God forbid when Touch and Go receives a bad review. I hope I’ll laugh like a child. What the hail.