Friday, February 16, 2007

Playing by the rules

Anis Shivani, “Why is American Fiction in Its Current Dismal State?” Pleiades 27:1

"The younger fiction writers today, Mr. K’s all, are themselves entirely self-constructed as bourgeois citizens, playing by the rules of the publishing game, pursuing their grants and promotions and accolades from wherever they might come, hungry for any scrap of attention from the limited sources each niche is likely to offer them. Writers today are polite, sociable, inoffensive, wanting to spark no controversy, staying clear of any dangerous, big, meaningful ideas, even at the cost of their own increased commercial viability. To win the game by making a large statement, and thus causing discomfort within one’s established social zone, is not worth winning the game at all . . watch them at readings and conferences, making eye contact, acting like team players, uttering only banalities, and creating an atmosphere of good feeling, routines with which they’ve had great success since grade school onwards. . . . there is no magic in contemporary literary fiction. And the players go on celebrating their own death. "