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A writer doesn't take kindly to a review of his book

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William Saroyan


I need a small amount of your space in which to reply to TIME’S review of my collection of short stories entitled The Trouble With Tigers [TIME, Nov. 14].

I am a writer, not a playboy, Communist, world-saver, dilettante, or U.S. prophet. Writing is my work. I take pride in this work, and when it is good I am as pleased to say so as TIME, for instance, is pleased in its advertisements to say it is the best magazine of its kind in America. . . .

Your reviewer, whoever he is, is apparently clinging to a theory which is no longer valid for our country. Modesty, in our day, almost invariably accompanies mediocrity, and is usually an inside out variety of immodesty.

If my work does not deserve to be taken seriously, I think it would be interesting to your readers (and especially interesting to me) if TIME would name six American writers of fiction whose work does deserve to be taken seriously.

I would be the last person in the world to shout foul-play because TIME appears to be anti-Saroyan. That is a privilege I am delighted to insist on your right to keep. I, in turn, on the other hand, insist that I myself, at least, am privileged to be pro-Saroyan. One of us is certainly partly mistaken. If it is myself, time, the element or thing which goes by every day, and not the magazine, will put me in my place.

William Saroyan, SAN FRANCISCO