One does not pass from lower to higher. On the contrary one might perfectly well fall from the higher to the lower, or simply read both, as many people eat both good food and junk food, the only problem being that the latter can be addictive; by constantly repeating the same gratifying formula (the litmus test of genre fiction) it stimulates and satisfies a craving for endless sameness, to the point that the reader can well end up spending all the time he has available for reading with exactly the same fare.
Posts Tagged: fiction
Author Edan Lepucki talks to the Rumpus about publishing, the craft of writing, teaching, and what to do about the end of the world....more
Can a good critic be a good novelist too? Daniel Mendelsohn and Leslie Jamison, who both have written both fiction and non-fiction, answer this question in the weekly Bookend column for the New York Times’s Sunday Review.
Though their ideas differ, the two authors ultimately share the same point of view, summed up in Jamison’s statement that, “We seem to have more patience for the novelist who writes criticism (Henry James, Virginia Woolf) than for the critic who writes novels (Susan Sontag, Lionel Trilling).”
Fiction writing gains more than verisimilitude from the included details. Writing at Beyond the Margins, Nichole Bernier examines how a writer’s choice of details informs the reader about a great deal more than the reality of a story:
But choosing which facts to include, and to emphasize, and in what order, is a kind of fiction unto itself, isn’t it?
Alive, dead, what’s it matter to me, truly? I had her books then, I have her books now. Let others sing her praises today from the rooftops. For me, Gallant is all days....more
“There’s days I think I’ll burn a year in Hell for every night Maria woke her momma and me, wanting to sleep with us, and I told her no, took her back to her room.” Acclaimed novelist Craig Clevenger debuts on the Rumpus....more
Brachah Goykadosh reviews IRIS HAS FREE TIME by Iris Smyles today in The Rumpus Book Reviews....more
Last year, we blogged about the first annual Twitter Fiction Festival after it happened. This year, we’re giving you a heads up: if you want to participate in this year’s festival, happening March 12–16, submit your idea to the organizers here....more
At Salon, Dani Shapiro writes an open response to a reader who felt that Shapiro’s memoir Slow Motion wasn’t fully honest because it didn’t include all the details of her life.
In it, she explains what memoir is and isn’t, and what honesty means for the form:
When I write fiction, I make things up.
“Fiction is, of course, serving rearguard here; the last decade has seen Iraq War films, poetry collections, documentaries, and non-fiction books too numerous to list, but part of what’s appealing about examining American Iraq War fiction now is that there isn’t that much yet.
The Short Form, a website featuring literary excerpts and reading recommendations, is a true gift to readers and writers of short stories. Sarahana Shrestha and Peter Cavanaugh collaborate to catalogue their favorite reads in contemporary short fiction, and invite guests to list their own favorite stories....more
Is it true that nowadays nonfiction is more relevant than fiction?
Pankaj Mishra and Rivka Galchen answer the question and both their answers are dissimilar.
Mishra answers, “Even writers working within the old verities of stability and coherence — we cannot do without some of them — continue to produce persuasive fictions.”
Galchen observes, “Fiction and nonfiction do tend to deploy different methods for getting to the truth....more
“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”
Neil Gaiman offers strong words at The Guardian on why libraries, reading, and daydreaming is vital to our future....more
The next Weekly Rumpus features fiction from Bryan Van Dyke! Here’s an excerpt!
Head down, hands in pockets, I am almost past the first surveillance cameras when I run into my sister. She jumps up and down and squeals with delight.
Some years ago I attended a [Margaret Atwood] reading….She introduced the story she read by saying that it was not autobiographical. Then she read her story about a woman who weighed somewhere in the vicinity of 300 pounds. When she was done, and the Q&A started, the first question was: “Miss Atwood, how did you lose all that weight?”
The Los Angeles Review of Books has a fascinating interview with several writers, including our very own David Biespiel, about the wriggly nature of truth in writing of any genre, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir—anything....more
…nothing calls for the paper shredder like a story that the writer clearly hasn’t sat on. A story that hasn’t been rewritten, or rewritten enough. So many writers that I encounter send their work in so soon. It shows, it really does.
There are no holiday weekends in August, but there are weekend Rumpus roundups.
If you feel like you need a hundred-year-nap, you might relate to Saturday’s comic by Yumi Sakugawa.
And on Sunday, Rob Roberge wrestled with the way fiction wrestles with the impossible complexity of making moral decisions:
But/and it strikes me that most good writing (and here, I’ll put my vote in for “good” being synonymous with ethically complex…) concerns itself with issues of non-conventional morality.
The kind of knowledge that good fiction can impart is incomplete knowledge, knowledge that admits its gaps and urges a certain caution because of them...more
Lovers of fiction and art (i.e., pretty much every Rumpus reader), listen up.
The Modern Eden Gallery is San Francisco is hosting an exhibition called “Fiction,” in which artists portray literary characters from Dorian Gray to Alice in Wonderland to Bradbury’s Illustrated Man....more
Man vs. forty-four tons of rotting bison meat…...more
In the wake of the Lockerbie Disaster and haunting personal loss, Miró plays nursemaid to a young American woman, unraveling abroad…...more
0) The beginning of all this, maybe. This woman who insists I could have loved anybody. We saw the Atlantic from Normandy. We saw the Pacific from San Francisco. This is not “my love is like an ocean.” We’d been through that already....more
Nights at the store, the brother and sister bagged the groceries that tumbled down the conveyors, rarely looking up, a simple nod of the head at a thanks from a customer....more
Why do we incorporate our personal lives into works of fiction? And how do we know when to stop?
In a post for the New York Times‘s “Draft” series, “about the art and craft of writing,” Rumpus columnist Peter Orner recalls a long-ago event that his psyche can’t shake: as a child, he stole a pair of nice gloves from his father....more
“X—well, X is just failing. At taking vitamins. At fully committing himself to the idea of dental hygiene. At opening beer bottles and wine bottles and most bottles made of non-synthetic material. Give X something with a metal lid, and he’ll give it right back to you.”
Failure is front and center in Rumpus interviews editor Rebecca Rubenstein‘s new short story at Used Furniture Review....more
This is how I think of it: there’s a contract between you and the mystery. And the mystery is the thing that brings life to the work. But your part of the contract is that you have to be the plow mule, or the mystery won’t show up. It might not even show up if you do your work. There’s no guarantee....more