LITERARY VS. GENRE FICTION

Tom Mirabile of Norfolk, Mass. had this to say in “The Mail” section of The New Yorker’s May 28, 2012 edition. But first he recollected from many years ago a broadcast of David Susskind’s talk show Open End where his guests were a pairing of Truman Capote and Mickey Spillane.  Whereas, Capote claimed it took five long years to write a book, Spillane sputtered that it took him no longer than five weeks to turn out one of his novels. Then, Spillane added–to Susskind’s and Capote’s apparent horror–that his protagonist–private eye Mike Hammer–only drank beer because Spillane did not know how to spell Cognac!

Mirabile concludes the anecdote with: “The writer’s delightful tongue-in-cheek irreverence indirectly confirmed what some of us–whether readers, writers, or critics–have always acknowledged: no form of writing guarantees a good read, but continued attempts to separate out certain types of fiction as ‘literary’ have become antiquated and hopelessly obsolete, and imply the snooty dismissal of every other category, no matter the genre.”


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