The Sunday Salon: Genre Fiction and Feelings

You know, I could try to make a witty prelude to this, but this happens so much that it’s just exhausting, so I’ll just cut right to it—somebody else wrote about why “literary fiction” is inherently superior to “genre fiction”. (Presume sarcastic quotation marks around said semantically meaningless phrases throughout this post.) This month’s (well, last month’s, hush your face) somebody is Arthur Krystal in The New Yorker’s “It’s Genre Fiction. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It!”. The usual arguments (genre fiction is formulaic, genre fiction is commercial, genre fiction isn’t written as well) and the usual flaws (defining genre in subjective terms, all the better to “rescue” certain worthy genre fiction) are all there, and I like to think we, as blogger and reader, have been over this material time and again. But towards the end of his piece, Krystal brings up a qualifier I’ve never seen before—he believes that literary fiction inherently affects the reader more profoundly.

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