Remainders: the state of literary fiction edition

  • Asked to define “cult author,” AL Kennedy says: “You’d hope it meant that certain books were looked after and cherished by readers in the face of public opinion — but more and more that’s happening full stop: the idea of reading non-bestselling fiction, the stuff that isn’t on Richard and Judy, is becoming a kind of cult in itself.”
  • Acknowledging the increasingly narrow audience for live theater and literary fiction, Terry Teachout heralds the rise of amateur, and intelligent, Web-based forums devoted to these subjects.
  • Speaking of Richard & Judy, it seems they appeal to readers in Britain not so much because of their, uh, great taste in books, but because they’re married and always bickering on camera.
  • Maybe it’s just me — and, yes, I know I’m being closed-minded — but with the glut of Flaubert’s Parrot copycats and fictionalized lives of Sylvia Plath and Henry James, I don’t think I can even stand to hear about one more “reinvention of an old classic” or “fictionalized life of [insert name of famous, tragic author here],” much less read one. The whole trend makes me feel like Ecclesiastes’ Koheleth; I want to sit in bars, muttering things like, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.”


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