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Reflections of a working writer and reader



The Oprahfication of fiction

Thanks to Steven W. Beattie for pointing me in the direction of Zoë Heller’s interview in the National Post:

Heller observes “a relatively new and very unhealthy phenomenon” arising, perhaps, from “Oprahfication of fiction writing or book clubs: This demand for characters you can root for, inspirational fiction, where you feel like you’d like to climb into the book and be there. There’s something slightly infantile about all of that. It clearly doesn’t win me any friends to say this, but I feel [like saying] a lot of the time, when I’m answering questions in bookstores, ‘Oh, grow up!’ If literature still has, in the Victorian sense, any edifying purpose, I think it’s that capacity to muster empathy for people unlike oneself or of whom one disapproves.

Steven goes on to extend Heller’s remarks into the realm of entertainment altogether – and the emergence of television like American Idol and Gossip Girl:

Entertainment (let’s not even think of calling it art) that provides clearly defined heroes and villains, cookie-cutter morality, and happy, comforting endings.

The Heller interview and Steven W. Beattie’s piece both provide keen and insightful reading.

One Response to “The Oprahfication of fiction”

  1. I don’t know about all of you but I too am sick of the cookie cutter entertainment and writing this is on Cable, TV, and the news all the time. Glad there are blogs like this and authors like Heller that keep intelligent discussion alive.