I understand I can search Amazon by genres, only to find books listed by multiple genres, some of which are truly a stretch. Even Mad Max Unintended Consequences is filed four layers down as "detective." Really? She solves her daughter's murder, but detective? No wonder some readers are disappointed.
But this is not about me. It's about what constitutes literary fiction. I finished [title omitted] by [author omitted] published by [publisher omitted]. The first half was plagued by endless pages of narration. The writer told me the story. S/He explained everything that was happening to the protagonist. I wanted to know what was happening, but more important I wanted to know what the main character was feeling.
In the second half of the book, the author shifted from narration to more dialogue, thus enabling me as a reader to empathize more with the plight of the protagonist. And the plight was dire.
Why does a publisher take a book with a powerful theme (spousal abuse) and wrap it in pages of mind-numbing narration? I wondered where the editor was in the publishing process? Did the editor actually think that all literary fiction should be rendered with limited dialogue?
I'm probably out in left field here, because my book club reads literary fiction the likes of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. You get the picture. Great writers mixing action, dialogue and pitch-perfect narration.
Is it just me or do some publishers think that labeling a novel as "literary fiction," it will elevate it and make it more desirable?
I am so confused. Can anyone help me out?
Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.