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.”