I agree at a meal with two editors, a woman and a man. I have friends with novels in the drawer, so I throw in a question. Do you think there are great books that we will never know? Some masterpiece, misunderstood by today's publishing world, despite its tentacles? The image of an octopus clouds the issue. Focus on the subject: could we be missing a jewel?
The editor has become very serious, perhaps too serious. No, it's impossible, we read everything, he says. Then he clarifies: we read the first page of everything that comes to us. Is it possible to know with a page if a book is good? Both editors agree that it is. We digress on whether this nullifies the possibility that an author wants to play with a voice that at first is horrible, like dumb, and becomes fascinating. He returns the image of the undiscovered treasure, the genius manuscript eaten by rats. More modern minds will see a computer in an electronic graveyard in Ghana.
Days later, a young writer tells me that he is beginning to abandon the idea of publishing his novel. He even write. Far from feeling misunderstood by publishers, he shows a rare empathy towards them. They are overwhelmed, he says. He shows me the website of an editorial group that warns that he does not accept any manuscripts, and that "manuscripts that, despite this warning, he receives will be destroyed immediately." You have to be very bad to declare something like that, says the writer, do they set fire to the manuscripts? There is unnecessary violence here. But something very strange is happening; it seems that civilization has reached an evolutionary point where there could be more people writing than reading, he says. I don't know what that means, it's disturbing; a fictional world? And he reads me the automated response from a small publisher: “We cannot correspond or discuss unsolicited originals beyond notification of this message. We receive an overwhelming number of manuscripts. We are sorry to give this discouraging answer, but the years pass and we have the feeling that it is possible that there are more people who write than he reads, which leads us to a paradox that is difficult to solve ”. Do you see it?, says my friend, I notice here a strange sadness. The intuition of a danger.