From The American Scholar, a review of the style of popular and literary fiction based on healing journeys: Brooklyn Books of Wonder, by Melvin Jules Bukiet. It’s a savage assessment of my least favourite literature, sentimental fiction. It has a good explanation of why this stuff sellsit works: narcissistic empathy. Read it, weep and perceive yourself as a nice, sensitive person.
They’re kitsch, which Milan Kundera defined as “the translation of the stupidity of received ideas into the language of beauty and feeling [that] moves us to tears of compassion for ourselves, for the banality of what we think and feel.”
Serious fiction, literature, even if it’s fabulist, sharpens reality. BBoWs elude reality to avoid the taint of anger or cynicism or the passion for revenge felt by real people in similar situations. Instead of telling a story of brute survival, BBoWs indulge in a dream of benign rescue.
And yes, another hit from AL Daily.
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