Thursday, September 20, 2007

Serious fiction coverage

As reports come in of a decline in the review coverage of fiction, I was astonished to learn on Wednesday night's Newsnight that fiction sales are up. This is due, it seems, to the influence of Richard & Judy's Bookclub. I was less astonished from then on. The report, which uses the interlude jazz number from KCRW's Bookworm, features veteran ghost writer Hunter Davies composing on his pre-historic Amstrad PCW9512. Ah, the memories! Anyway, such are the boring details of commerce. What follows the report is more interesting. Back in the studio, Jeremy Paxman quizzes Martin Amis and John Banville on the future of the novel. Amis says some interesting things about the novel surviving because it's a vehicle in which one can commune with one's inner self, and how poetry has been marginalised because it stops time while the novel keeps up with history. Interesting, that is, in that Newsnight allowed such pretentious thoughts to air. Banville meanwhile rather avoids Paxman's main concern over the future of novel sales and the mythologically-concomitant desire for a dynamic plot, which suggests Paxo couldn't get his buddy Robert Harris on the show to recite the usual canard about "the literati" and the reading public.

1 comment:

  1. Fiction sales may be up but I'd bet you that the total number of books being published is up as well, cutting any profits of increased sales by the large number of books that fail completely.

    Basically publishers need better taste.



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