27 October 2012

0 recommended reading

i've never read hilary mantel and i didn't know who she was and i probably wouldn't have read this article if i weren't trying to stay awake in the houston airport, but this article in the new yorker is FASCINATING:

Why would a writer write about the distant past, that reader might wonder, if not to escape the realist discipline imposed by familiarity? If not to flee to a world blurry enough so that men can behave like Vikings and not seem ridiculous, and ladies can be ladies without being pathetic? And if a writer writes about historically significant people then she is forced into a respectful posture that depreciates her status still further, since it has become one of the hallmarks of literary fiction that its authors regard their characters with something between affectionate condescension and total contempt.These, then, are some of the obstacles that the serious novelist must consider in deciding to leave the safe precincts of the present and venture into the past. 

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