Dear Mr. Miller,

Thank you for your recent manuscript submission. I believe you have a terrific first draft for a novel about your experiences in Paris, and look forward to seeing the finished version.

If I may, I would like to offer just a few suggestions.

First, though I appreciate your frankness and honesty, our readers are likely to be offended by many of your locutions. For example, I think you could remove the word ‘kike’ everywhere it appears, with no detriment to the overall effect. Of course you might also consider being not quite so very approving of antisemitic attitudes and therefore rewrite twenty or so pages of this work.

Along the same lines, though I appreciate that you are aiming for an accurate portrayal of your experiences and perceptions, I do wonder whether your frankly misogynist attitudes really contribute much to the overall quality of the work. It is doubtful that any self respecting woman, or their fathers, brothers, husbands etc., will find your contempt for women an asset to your book. Quite the opposite, in my case at least.

I referred earlier to this being the first draft of a ‘novel’, but perhaps ‘memoir’ might be a better characterization of the work as it stands. In either case, might it not be improved by a more coherent story line? A plot, if you will. Though I enjoyed several of the vignettes that make up this work, I began to wonder near the end whether you intended there to be any sort of progression or movement in this book, or whether you instead intended this solely as a ‘slice of life’ portrayal of life as an impoverished writer. If the latter, then I suppose you have succeeded, but it begs the question: why? Though no doubt of some considerable interest to other not yet successful authors, it is doubtful that anyone else will find much of interest here, absent at least one sympathetic character and a story with some sort of ‘point’.

My advice, though I’m quite sure you won’t accept it, is to rework this into a a shorter book, taking into account my earlier remarks. There are a great many brilliant passages, whole pages of them, which if put into a proper context would satisfy and delight the reading public.



Book cover

Metadata Info

  • Title: Tropic of Cancer
  • Author: Henry Miller
  • Published: 1934
  • ISBN: 0802131786
  • Buy: Amazon search
  • Check out: Seattle library
  • Rating: 2.0 stars