Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Novels Don't Have to Be Hard Work

There was an interesting article by author Lev Grossman in the Wall Street Journal recently called "Good Novels Don't Have to Be Hard Work." Basically, Grossman says that compelling plots have in recent years been considered somewhat "low-brow," while high-class literature usually doesn't have suspenseful plotting. Grossman thinks plot is important, and that it's making a comeback.

An excerpt:

From a hieratic, hermetic art object the novel is blooming into something more casual and open: a literature of pleasure. The critics will have to catch up. This new breed of novel resists interpretation, but not the way the Modernists did. These books require a different set of tools, and a basic belief that plot and literary intelligence aren't mutually exclusive.

In fact the true postmodern novel is here, hiding in plain sight. We just haven't noticed it because we're looking in the wrong aisle. We were trained—by the Modernists, who else—to expect a literary revolution to be a revolution of the avant-garde: typographically altered, grammatically shattered, rhetorically obscure. Difficult, in a word. This is different. It's a revolution from below, up from the supermarket racks.

What do you think, readers? Is plot the next big thing? Do you prefer a suspenseful plot, or do you put more value on other aspects of the novel?

No comments: