Sunday, January 13, 2013

Brilliant response to those decrying the death of the novel

Sam Byers at Salon.com explains the silliness about the latest "death of the novel" theme very nicely and quite amusingly.

And it's my turn to agree with him and say the following:

In every decade since the novel became "popular," say the mid-19th Century, very few novels released every year are worth reading.

Those novels worth reading were sometimes missed in the past, often missed today simply due to the noise from other media, and those novels which are hugely popular tend to become cliches and then become largely forgotten within a generation. Or, the movie version becomes the definer of the work more than the novel itself.

Novels will not die. They will continue to be written and released in e-book form. There may eventually be no more novels released in paper format--or at least they will be released in paper form like vinyl records, to be enjoyed by a small subset of the public. But again there will always be novels as long as there are people who want to write and people who can read. Good novels? Again, see above.

And let's add the following: No matter whether the novels are in paper format or e-book, Phillip Roth is still too narrowly focused and overrated, Toni Morrison is still obtuse in her writing style and vastly overrated, Joyce Carol Oates is still ridiculously morose. Oh, and Jonathan Franzen still needs his head examined for refusing to accept Oprah's endorsement of his breakthrough novel.

There. I feel better now.

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