So where does the blame lie? In the complacent self-sustaining world of publishing, where agents and publishers alike employ young, middle class interns to weed out the chaff and find the next big thing. Except of course most of these readers, being young and middle class, haven't actually got a clue about good writing OR the real world...
Emma Healey has had a roller coaster six months: her debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, which sold for a six-figure advance, was published last summer to critical acclaim. And last week the twenty-nine year old writer won the Costa First Novel award and is now up against the likes of Ali Smith and Kate Saunders for the Costa Book of the Year Prize.
My favourite health and fitness app measures how many steps I've taken each day and how deeply (or- most often- not) I've slept each night. It calculates the balance of the calories I've consumed, and gives me a helpful nudge if I've had too much salt, sugar or saturated fat. It sets me targets, and gives me a virtual pat on the back if I meet or even exceed them.
Perhaps it was being put deep under by the anaesthesia, for I am told it really is a little like dying. Well the closest one comes to dying without actually... dying; when you are sedated enough for them to cut into you. Maybe it was that which dropped me deep into myself, enough to touch the stuff that really mattered. The debris hidden behind decades of conditioning shot to the top.