I’m reading with the greatest pleasure Zoo Time, the latest novel by Howard Jacobson. The narrator is an author called Guy Ableman, and one of its subjects is the parlous state of publishing today.

In this scene, Ableman meets with his publisher, Merton — “a publisher of the old school” who “didn’t know what was what any more.” They have the following all-too-timely conversation:


“Do you know what I am expected to require of you?” he suddenly looked me in the eyes and said. “That you twit.”


“Twit, tweet, I don’t know.”

“And why are you expected to require it of me?”

“So that you can do our business for us. So that you can connect to your readers, tell them what you’re writing, tell them where you’re going to be speaking, tell them what you’re reading, tell them what you’re fucking eating.”

After that, the conversation naturally turns to “blagging.”

Jacobson, who turned 71 this weekend, does not tweet, as far as I can tell. I do, but at least I can say I’ve never tweeted about anything I was eating.


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