In the epilogue for Fargo Rock City, Chuck Klosterman writes:
"It's always been my theory that criticism is really just veiled autobiography; whenever someone writes about a piece of art, they're really just writing about themselves."Do you agree?
There's a huge difference in saying that you think something is good, and that you like something. Some philosophers wouldn't agree with me, but that's too bad for them. An example:
Radiohead are, in musical, technical senses, good.
I do not like Radiohead.
Is this saying something about me? Well, it says that Tom Yorke's voice annoys me, because personally I don't like it. But I'm not going to say that Radiohead are crap, because they actually just aren't.
I'm trying to think of a literary example... but in that sense so often if something isn't actually well-written and good, then I probably won't like it, just because that is part of my criteria for enjoying a book.
So that's that part.
When I'm criticising a novel, what am I really doing?
I'd like to believe that my reviews that bit better than people who say: I didn't like it. 0 of 10. That isn't a review, that's giving an opinion. That's a different ball game. Of course, when I review a book I bring with me all my baggage and expectations - there are my likes and dislikes, and I'm sure I've got some secret prejudices going on somewhere inside me. That all exists before I even open the book. Probably, that will make a difference.
But I try to let it not make a difference. When I criticise, I do just that. Criticising is about really taking a piece of fiction (or art, whatever) apart and examining it for what it is, regardless of any personal issues I might have. Then, I might also choose to give a personal judgement, which is different from criticism. That's me saying, Hey, I Hated That Character Because I Hate Clowns But That's My Opinion. Cause it is. I have a fear of clowns, so I automatically hate the clown character, but I recognise that for what it is and admit it.
So my answer is no. Not if criticism really means critique, and not just an eww or yay answer.