Fwd: Re: Byatt on Potter

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Jul 11 13:54:20 EDT 2003


On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 20:34:25 -0400 (EDT), <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net> wrote:

>I just don't care much for modern literature. There isn't much in modern
>literature I'd care to read twice. (Like water for chocolate is an
>exception...)

I don't care for much of "modern literature" myself--which I suppose I'd
categorize as literary fiction written in the last thirty years.  But there
are exceptions, as you say (I actually have two copies of Laura Esquivel's
book but I still haven't read it, just skimmed...it looks very good).  But
mostly it's because of what the SF writer Dave Wolverton categorizes as
"Manhattan angst" fiction...I come to the end and I'm not certain what I've
gotten out of it, or what I was meant to understand.  (In one school of
thought you're not supposed to view the text as something from which to
extract meaning, so I just failed again.)  A friend of mine suggested once
that while fantasy/SF/genre fiction is about answering the question posed,
literary fiction is about phrasing the question correctly.  If he's right,
then that means it takes a completely different kind of reading to
appreciate such fiction.

At any rate, I think _Possession_ is another exception to the rule.  It's
got two strong plots, though I prefer the historical one (more of that
postmodern angst, I guess :).  I read modern lit out of a sense of duty, but
that one was entirely for pleasure.

Melissa Proffitt

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