Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ursula LeGuin on "the revival of popular fiction"

Hilarious in a very erudite way.

It's clear that Ms. LeGuin, like a lot of us out here, never considered that popular fiction was dead, let alone that it needed resurrecting! I do love her.

Thanks to Jo Beverly--far more famous than I, but still the dreaded "popular fiction" author*--for sharing the joy.

* Heavy irony, in case the inflection isn't coming through.

I used to have aspirations to write serious, mainstream literary fiction. Then I had an epiphany, probably in the middle of something by Dom deLillo--I don't care for most serious literary fiction. Occasionally something will sing for me--I like Louise Erdrich, for example, and some Barbara Kingsolver, and some Toni Morrison, to name a few--but mostly? Yawn.

I like happy endings or at least hopeful ones. I like sex (sometimes explicit, sometimes not) in the service of something other than meaningless angst. I like heroism and occasional explosions and a feeling that whatever trials the characters are going through matter, that it's more than "life sucks and then you die, and not even for a good cause".

And admitting this, I am resigned I'll never get my picture on the cover of Poets and Writers magazine.

Anyone out there have some "serious literary fiction" to recommend that isn't dull or depressing? Literary yet optimistic or heroic/Romantic-with-a-big R fiction? (Does Dorothy Dunnett count?) I'm always glad to try something new, but so often I'm disappointed.


At 12:57 AM, Blogger Anne Tourney said...

I'm reading Tim Farrington's quietly romantic novel, The Monk Downstairs, about a single mother who falls in love with the former monk who becomes a tenant in her house. I love its subtle insights into spirituality, sensuality, desire, and the difficult work of finding a place where they comfortably meet. And I love the San Francisco setting -- makes me miss The City so much.

It was wonderful to meet you this week, Teresa! And now I'm off to investigate some of your poetry . . .

At 8:54 AM, Blogger TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

Lovely to meet you as well. Don't be a stranger!

I'd forgotten that lovely book, Anne--thanks for reminding me.

Must see what else he's written.

I'm also fond of Matt Ruff (Fool on the Hill, Set This House in Order ), who's unabashedly romantic and has a definite specfic slant.


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