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Jerome Parisse

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Member Since: May, 2010

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Blogs by Jerome Parisse

Literary fiction or gothic horror?
5/28/2010 3:39:56 AM

For or against literary fiction?

Having recently released “The Wings of Leo Spencer” I am confronted again to the old battle of genres, and I can’t help feeling annoyed about it all. Okay, I understand there has to be a market for a book, and marketing is all about defining your target audience. I have been in business long enough to know the process and to understand the impact of a well targeted marketing campaign. Bookstores have to place their books somewhere. Placing them next to each other in a completely random manner would certainly not generate a huge amount of sales: customers would be lost. Distributors have to group their books in categories to make it easier for their buyers. No problem there. And of course, we are all attracted to certain genres - my brother and sister-in-law certainly epitomise this fact: their house is full, floor to ceiling, with fantasy books. And not any kind of fantasy, just to make it a little harder.

When I wrote “The Wings of Leo Spencer” I had young adults in mind. That’s it, I’ve said it. Young adult fiction. Fine. Except that reviewers, as well as my publisher, are very clear: it’s for all ages. I accept that. In fact, I’m pleased about it. The protagonists share their time between our world and another world (Heaven), similar to the world we know but different at the same time. So it’s fantasy after all. Young adult fantasy – or simply fantasy according to my publisher and my reviewers. I’m happy with that, although I don’t like being pigeonholed. At least it gives me something to tell readers when they ask me where my book fits in the literary world. Now, I have just finished writing another novel (in French, entitled “Metaphore du Rapide”) and things are a little muddled here: a huis clos, adventure, mystery, or literary fiction? Probably a mixture of the four, but early reviews were pushing for literary fiction. And that’s where I can’t help laughing.

Literary fiction: I have a problem with the term. Does this mean that all other books – the proper genre ones – are not literary? Aren’t they written with words? The Merriam-Webster online definition for “literary” is “relating to books” or “relating to literature”. So? “They’re not as beautifully written,” I often hear say of genre novels. Rubbish. I know many genre novels that are a gem. Was “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee young adult fiction or literary fiction? It was both, and my argument is that literary fiction doesn’t exist. It’s all fiction (as opposed to poetry, or non-fiction). I profoundly dislike judgements about “high” and “low” literature… it’s all about writing, telling a story, sharing something with the reader… There are many ways to do that, and some works fall into neat categories, others don’t (making them harder to sell. okay…) So what am I arguing for? First, “Literary fiction” is nothing but another genre (and the idea is not new). And let’s change its name: something like general fiction would suit me fine.



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More Blogs by Jerome Parisse
• Body Swap Interview and Yunnan Trip... - Thursday, March 10, 2011
• The Corrections - Wednesday, March 09, 2011
• Buried - Wednesday, March 09, 2011
• Black Swan - Monday, March 07, 2011
• Educating Rita - Sunday, February 27, 2011
• Bidrman, by Mo hayder - Sunday, February 27, 2011
• The Insomnia of Stars - Wednesday, February 23, 2011
• If I Stay, by Gayle Forman - Wednesday, February 23, 2011
• Blacklands by Belinda bauer - Wednesday, February 16, 2011
• Where is Marc Levy's respect for his readers? - Saturday, February 12, 2011
• The Wings of Leo Spencer at $10 only! - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
• Boracay, twenty years later - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Hereafter - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Gone (Mo Hayder) - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Free e-books until 6 February! - Monday, January 31, 2011
• Two Brothers - Sunday, January 30, 2011
• Miserere - Saturday, January 29, 2011
• Shanghai - Saturday, January 22, 2011
• 3 e-books for free until 6 January! - Thursday, January 20, 2011
• A Spot of Bother - Thursday, January 20, 2011
• Sarah's Key - Wednesday, January 19, 2011
• The Tree - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
• Norwegian Wood - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
• The American - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
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• 50 literature ideas you really need to know, by John Sutherland - Saturday, January 08, 2011
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• Harry Potter and the Deahtly Hallows - Friday, December 17, 2010
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• Free royalty-free music - Monday, October 25, 2010
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•  Literary fiction or gothic horror? - Friday, May 28, 2010  



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