Writing for the Guardian, novelist Val McDermid disputes the recent study which suggests that “literary” fiction readers are more empathetic than “genre” readers:
There is no doubt that, historically, there was a valid distinction. Nobody would attempt to suggest that there is an equivalence between Agatha Christie and Virginia Woolf. (Let’s face it, Woolf couldn’t plot for toffee.) Those days are long gone. Novels that undeniably have generic elements also often have powerful literary elements. They’re well-written, they have strongly-drawn characters and they deal with thought-provoking themes in challenging ways.