Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yes and no ...

... A Commonplace Blog: Literary fiction. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I agree about literary fiction, but I don't agree about The Sea, which I think is wonderful. De gustibus ...


  1. I've been saying for some time now that "literary fiction" is itself a genre. It defines itself as non-genre, and believes itself to be a higher art than "genre fiction," but in fact it is easy to see that it is the genre which defines itself by not being all the other genres of fiction.

    Furthermore, I think that "mainstream literary fiction" (i.e. "realistic" style narrative about people in their daily lives), while having the pretense of being what fiction is all about, in fact was never all of what fiction was all about. "Magical realism" has always been around, if not always called that; "The Odyssey," for example, one of the great foundations of contemporary fiction, is about as fantastic as it gets.

    I also agree that the quality of the writing is what really matters. There's at least as much good writing in mystery or SF fiction as there is in literary fiction these days; maybe more. But who or what determines what is "good" or "bad" writing remains far more subjective than most literary critics, those self-appointed arbiters of taste, would like us to believe.

  2. I thoroughly agree, Art.