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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Everyone's a buzzin over THE NYT Book Review's List of the BEST Works of American Fiction (read Novels, primarily or entirely in the traditional sense, of course) during the last quarter century. Predictably notable as much for its omissions as its inclusions of less than stunning multiple works by the same author (eg 6 novels by Roth). And of course listing works by very few women authors other than the number one token woman also black (score 2 minority points in one). HO HUM HO HUM. Yes, the American novel presented to the American public is in pretty damn pathetic shape. If the Establishment weren't so biased against the short story, would the arbiters of excellence have included the remarkably innovative Donald Barthelme's "Sixty Stories?" Doubtful. American fiction is mired in gritty realism and writing formulae, but for shining stars published by "alternative" magazines and presses.

Good discussions of the A+ List may be found here:

Now What (RS comments: "Do we really think that more than one fourth of all the important novels over the past quarter century were written by one man? If so, do we honestly think they were written by Philip Roth? I’d poke my eyes out before I’d live on that planet.")

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