The literary novel is undead
“I don’t think the literary novel is dead. I think it’s undead. In order to save it from annihilation we have made it a genre: we have taken our understanding of the word “novel” as a kind of writing with no rules and replaced it with a formula of exactly predictable progressions, illuminations and tragedies. If you’re having trouble figuring out what some character in your new novel is going to do, give me a call. I can tell you. But, more importantly, who cares?”
So said Greg Baxter in his review of Reality Hunger by David Shields, which appeared in our books’ pages last weekend. So far, no Letters to the Editor expressing outrage, umbrage or even an opinion. So let’s try you lot then. Do you agree that the novel is undead, predictable and formulaic ? And, more importantly, as Baxter adds, do you care? Bueller? Anyone?