Where Are All The “Good” Guys?


For Electric Literature, Liesl Schillinger reflects on his struggles to find examples of “good” men in contemporary fiction, and shares his joy in finding one in Lauren Groff‘s Fates and Furies. Further, he argues that despite the self-deprecating narrator in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, the six-volume epic captures an “everyman” whose goodwill helps him to succeed:

There is room in the reading world for fiction about every kind of person on earth, whatever their sexual or gender identity or preference; whatever their deficit or surfeit of ability, whatever their weakness or strength of personality; whatever their luck, good or ill… But when I remember my troubled male friend, who asked me not so long ago, during a dark moment, to recommend a novel about a man who succeeded, I am so glad that I can now give him a title. (Even now, I am not sure he should risk the Knausgaard). A good man is an extraordinary thing; but more of them exist among us than literature likes to show.

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →