The (writing) Success of Others

Prolific fantasy author Robin Hobb gives a nod to a friend on a successful publication of her recent book.


With Great Pleasure . . .

Jul. 27th, 2012 | 11:57 am

Originally published at Robin Hobb. You can comment here or there.

I think one of the greatest pleasures in life is rejoicing in the successes of your friends.  Now, I will admit that I’ve known a few writer who seem to view other writers’ successes as some sort of rivalry.   “If you make the New York Times Bestseller list and I do not, it must be because you took my spot on it!”   Or something like that.  I confess, I’ve never been able to make sense of that sort of ‘writers as competitors’ attitude.

Instead, what makes me really happy is to watch friends succeed.  I like to read books in manuscript and blurb them, though far too often, by the time I get around to reading it, it’s out in mass market paperback!  Research and writing seem to take up more and more of my time, with less and less time to spend on reading for pleasure. Sad to say, I think this is true of every author I know.

And then there are the books that I will probably never get to read, even though they are written by wonderful friends. Attending international festivals such as Imaginales or Utopiales in France, or Trolls&Legendes in Belgium has allowed me to meet many fellow writers whose works have never been translated into English.  It makes me feel a bit odd that my author friends are able to read my stories in translation or, for the many European writers who are multi-lingual, in the original English, while the best I can do is look at their cover art and grope my way through a few pages.

Above you glimpse the cover for Nathalie Dau’s most recent novel.  Here is the cover description in French:

Les Mages Bleus, servants de l’Équilibre, ont été décimés, mais l’un des leurs a survécu au prix de son honneur, motivé par le besoin impérieux de transmettre la vie.
Le jeune Cerdric, né bréon de la noble famille Tirbald, va, quant à lui, affronter une mère qui ne l’a pas désiré, un monde qui semble incapable de l’aimer.
Et si la solution à ses tourments résidait dans la Marche voisine, là où vit son mystérieux père, en exil ?
Mais au terme de son voyage, Cerdric recevra surtout le poids d’un secret terriblement lourd à porter : celui de la Somme des Rêves, une espérance de renouveau pour ceux qui refusent de s’incliner devant les dieux…

And for those of you who, like me, are limited to English, the teasing translation of a book we cannot read:

The Blue Wizards, servants of the Balance, have been slaughtered, but one of them managed to survive, though losing his honour in the process, feeling an overwhelming need to spread life.

Young Cedric, from the noble family Tirbald, will be confronted with a mother who never wanted a child in a world that seems devoid of any love.

What if the remedy to his woes laid in the neighborhood March, where his mysterious, exiled father lives ?

But at the end of his journey, Cerdric will mostly receive an terrible burden, a tremendous secret : The Sum of all Dreams, also a formidable hope for those who refuses to bow down before the Gods…

The title translation is Sum of Dreams.  Cover art by Mathieu Coudray.

While I cannot read this book to blurb it, what I can tell you is that I’ve found Nathalie Dau to be charming, intelligent and clever. And thus I expect you will find this to be true of her book as well.  Here is a brief glimpse of her in an interview at Imaginales.

Congratulations, Nathalie!  May your book find all the success it deserves!


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