Let's take South African author J.M. Coetzee as an example of what I mean. Based almost entirely upon one novel, Diary of a Bad Year, I have come to despise the man. I have no interest in ever reading another word he has written, or will write in the future, no matter how much critics around the world may love the guy. Why do I feel that way?
Because in that book, Coetzee comes across as a vicious, little weasel of a man who represents everything I hate about politics and the smear tactics that are so often used today to ruin unfairly the reputations of good men. Coetzee hates certain U.S. political figures so deeply that he simply cannot control himself in Diary of a Bad Year. He, in fact, lets his hatred so overwhelm him that, despite his attempt to employ effectively a stylistic gimmick, the stink of his hatred permeates the entire novel. I finished it only because Coetzee made such a fool of himself that I could not turn away. In a perverse way, it was a fascinating thing to watch.
So now, and probably forever more, when I see a J.M. Coetzee book in a bookstore, I think of nothing but the pettiness and childishness displayed by its author in Diary of a Bad Year. Am I wrong for not giving another Coetzee book a chance? Considering how angry the last one left me feeling, I don't think so.
Life is too short to read all the good books that I want to read, so why should I bother with those that are almost certain to leave me feeling abused? I do suppose, though, that I should thank Mr. Coetzee for automatically eliminating his novels from consideration each time that I go about choosing the next book. Anything that simplifies life is a good thing - even when it comes from a man dominated by his one-track mind.