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Middling on literary fiction...

So I allowed a description of a literary book to suck me in, and I ended up reading it (an e-galley) -- and now I'm totally grumpy. I don't know why I do this!

For me, literary fiction has some very attractive flow, and if I start reading, I often find myself completely sucked into the movement of the prose. However, I don't really enjoy the resolution (or non-resolution, as is so often the case) of the typical literary climax.

This one was no different...at the end, everyone died un-satisfied. All the main characters left this life in a state of yearning, and the book ended. Just. Like. That.

For those of you who like literary fiction, what am I missing? How do you read it and not get completely depressed? I seldom give in to my curiosity with these types of books, because other than very rare occasions (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which is on the edge of literary, imo), I'm disappointed and grumpy at the end. *sigh*

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
olmue
Jun. 1st, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that makes me cranky, too. I picked up an adult novel once that had LOVELY prose and a great setting (South Carolina) and had all kinds of great tensions building up to the climax. And then...

it skipped the climax. Seriously. There was a denouement, and then The End. It was VERY annoying.
robinellen
Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
I think I just don't get literary fiction (for the most part) ;)
boreal_owl
Jun. 1st, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
I don't think you can lump all literary fiction together any more than you can lump all commercial fiction.

Some is good and I enjoy it. (I may even write on the cusp of literary. Shhh...I didn't say that. It sounds immodest.) But for sure my books have hope in them, they have plenty of plot, and they have definite conclusions.

I recently read a depressing MG book like that. I think it's up for some awards, so maybe it's literary. All I know is I had to force myself to finish it and I had to chase the feeling by reading something light and escapist.
robinellen
Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
Well, you're right about that ;) My mom and one of my closest friends LOVE literary...I guess I'm just too commercial (though I've also had people say that my writing has a literary feel, at times -- not sure how that happened, hehe). If your books have hope, plot, and conclusion, then they're good (no matter what they're called)!
shaelise
Jun. 2nd, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC)
I struggle with those kind of endings too. I love the imagery and prose but need resolution. It seems more popular of late (in all genres) to leave threads hanging or characters yearning...or so it seems with several books I've read recently.
I just saw a movie that did this also. I spent two hours waiting for the two main characters to meet and then the second they did, the movie ended without any inclination of resolution (in my mind) or conclusion to tie together their goals. I was very frustrated afterwards. Even my husband was grumpy about it. :)
robinellen
Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
We went and saw a movie like that too -- and yeah, I didn't like it AT ALL! *fumes for a second*
authorwithin
Jun. 2nd, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
I grew up reading Thomas Hardy, Alexandre Dumas, and other classics so I don't mind the depression (how do you spell depressing . . . T-h-o-m-a-s H-a-r-d-y). ;-)

I like them because they seemed "real" to my teenage self. They didn't have happy endings and things weren't always resolved . . . and that attracted me because life is like that. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for losing myself in a novel and escaping "reality," but something about the tragedy and truth of life drew me in. Maybe that's why I love Shakespeare too? ;-)

Anyway, I guess I read them to have a catharsis. I need the release of bawling my eyes out every once in a while and those types of books help me get there (not that I can't have a bawl fest without reading, but at least I'd have an excuse LOL).

Still, I don't read as much "literary" as I used to . . . maybe I don't need to bawl as much as I did as a teen? *shrug* I don't know.

But I don't like HUGE unresolved issues. A small one here and there I can handle, especially if there will be a sequel . . . but massive unresolved issues do make me go Grrrr!
robinellen
Jun. 2nd, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
And I was one who read as few classics as I could get away with ;) I even wrote my high school semester-long paper (for Honors English) on Agatha Christie (rather than a classic author, as per the instructions). My teacher let me because she loved Christie (another girl did hers on Stephen King and was allowed for the same reason -- everyone else in the class had to write about one of the classics/classic authors).

Also, I DON'T like to bawl over books. I like happy, happy, happy :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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