I wonder about this in terms of genre. Just as I don’t want to identify as non-binary, regardless of the potential room for accuracy, I don’t want to identify as a “writer of neither genres.” But how much does want matter when perception is what labels us in the mainstream?
Posts Tagged: genre
It just means that we have a desire for our language to be able to perform in a different way than it performs, and we have a desire for a reconciliation between the individual and the social that poetry can’t fulfill, but can help made felt.
There’s a tendency to take writers who write about race and shuffle them into a genre, into a predetermined conversation, whether they wanted to be there or not. But even if the constraints of the game are rigged, what Jenny Zhang, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Karan Mahajan have to say cuts through the BS pretty quickly:
It’s a real detriment to the quality of these spaces when they end up being dominated by white folks.
Wherever the boundary between fiction and nonfiction, Geoff Dyer has long since crossed it. For Hazlitt, Kyle Chayka talked to the author of White Sands about the continuum of the critical and the narrative:
If people call it an essay collection, then I immediately want to say, hey, but there are stories as well!
The then-girls, now-women who grew up reading Harry Potter are revitalizing the book market and steering publishing trends, and here’s what they want now: crime thriller fiction featuring calculating and vengeful female protagonists, now its own genre umbrella-ed by the term “grip lit.” MPR writes that the dark, psychological magic of Harry Potter inspired this burst of crime thrillers, such as The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or the big screen-adapted Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn....more
Over at Lit Hub, Jennifer R. Bernstein confronts the disciplinary rift that has grown between psychology and literature to show how the two are linked, even nested inside one another in our studies of self and pain:
For these authors were writing literature of a kind; you could hear it in the music of their prose and their command of figurative language.
Inspiration is a fickle mistress—sometimes the Muse doesn’t show up for years. Louis Begley may have gotten a late start, but after beginning his first novel at age fifty-six, he hasn’t stopped writing. The author reflects on his career for The New Republic:
Without having set out to do so, I seem to have grown into the role of a chronicler of the Eastern Seaboard’s upper crust.
Memoirs get a bad rap, for reasons both legitimate and superficial. With a work of unintentional autobiography under his belt, Lucas Mann grapples with the stigma of the reflexive:
To put it bluntly, memoir is the only literary form still defined by its shittiest iterations.
For the Guardian, Richard Lea investigates the distinction between fiction and nonfiction writing, a distinction that exists most firmly in anglophone cultures and literature. Lea interviews several writers who work with texts in other languages, either as bilingual authors or translators, in order to find whether separating stories according to their factual content offers any benefit....more
I find the more furtively I move between genres, the more I surprise myself as a writer. Moving between genres, you carry curious things over and also carry them away. I like the gray areas between genres—prose that reads like poetry that moves like a thriller that falls over a reader like poetry—to keep mixing it up, and hopefully in the process move the genre of fiction forward in some compelling new way.
Two Russian men found themselves on the opposite ends of an argument over the merits of poetry versus prose. The two were drunk and arguing over which genre was more literary. Poetry won the day when he stabbed prose to death....more
The historical novel describes then what might have happened within what happened; the feeling of being free within the machine of one’s fate, dare I even say the old consciousness.
For The New Republic, Alexander Chee explores historical fiction and whether the genre owes more to literature or historical accuracy....more
I write historical fiction. Some consider this an outré craft. If literary fiction is Brooklyn, the historical novel is Queens.
Over at the New York Times’s Sunday Book Review, Geraldine Brooks pens an essay on her experience recapturing the consciousness of people who lived more than 3,000 years ago through historical fiction....more
They have a swish sounding publisher. They write for the New Yorker or the Guardian. They’re overwhelmingly likely to have attended an elite university such as Oxford or Stamford. They have an MFA. It’s all indicative of one clear message: these people are smarter than you, so you should buy their book.
David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, has been nominated for both “literary” and “genre” awards, putting him in a somewhat unique position to comment on the ever-raging literary vs. genre war:
“It’s convenient to have a science fiction and fantasy section, it’s convenient to have a mainstream literary fiction section, but these should only be guides, they shouldn’t be demarcated territories where one type of reader belongs and another type of reader does not,” said [author David] Mitchell.