From a recent Toronto Star article: An April 2005 article in the Australian Book Review complained that “literary fiction is losing market share to memoirs and genre fiction.” The Sept. 10 Publishers Weekly repeated the phrase “literary fiction has lost its authority in the culture,” often heard in publishing industry circles.
And my response…so what? I’ve never understood the word ‘culture’. Shouldn’t culture be whatever people are doing, being, thinking, watching, reading? Not something that someone from another era thinks is important.
The reason literary fiction is declining is because NO ONE reads it. There’s no need to try to save it. If people don’t want to read it, they won’t. Our culture, for better or worse, is Survivor, mass market novels, Dexter, 30 Rock…
In Canada, literary fiction is supported heavily by subsidies (your money) while genre fiction doesn’t have that luxury. Which is strange, because if it sells, and lots of people read it, isn’t that culture? Not the book that only 100 people read?
Culture is just a society’s interests…and when those interests change, there doesn’t have to be the gnashing of teeth to save something…that no one wants to save.