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Pickle Me This

October 27, 2010

That's what I call bad novels.

“To make a long story short, let’s imagine something called “industrial literature.” It’s job is to reproduce, ad infinitum, the same types of stories, to grind out assembly-line stereotypes, to retail noble sentiments and trembling emotions, to seize every opportunity to turn current events into docu-dramas, to conduct market studies in order to manufacture, according to demographic profile, products designed to tease the imaginations of specific categories of consumers.

That’s what I call bad novels.

Why? Because they’re not creations. Because they reproduce pre-established forms. Their enterprise is one of simplification (lies, in other words), whereas the novel is the art of truth (complexity, in other words). Because by provoking knee-jerk reactions, they lull our curiosity. Because the author is absent, and so is the reality he or she claims to describe.” –Daniel Pennac, Better Than Life

3 thoughts on “That's what I call bad novels.”

  1. Where’s the “Like” button on this post?

  2. Kerry says:

    My favourite part is “Because by provoking knee-jerk reactions, they lull our curiosity.” I never realized how dangerous that is, how damaging to our best selves bad literature can be.

  3. patricia says:

    That first paragraph is a very apt (and sad) description of the kidlit publishing industry. Sigh.

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