Justin Cronin Tells It Like It Is

If today’s Telegraph interview with The Passage author Justin Cronin had only contained his characterization of Meyers-esque pseudo-vampire fiction as “the vampire industrial complex” I would have been pleased enough to pass it on to you guys.

But, beyond the tale of how he constructed his best-selling novel during bike rides with his daughter, Cronin offered up some excellent insights into the literary-genre divide.

Quoth Cronin:

I wanted to write a book that had the attributes of literary fiction – meaning good careful writing and characters with human complexity – and that also operated simultaneously in a whole variety of genres – from the post-apocalyptic to the western. That literary-popular distinction is, in my view, vastly overstated. At the far poles there are clearly books that are purely commercial and purely literary, written for audiences that want to see the same thing enacted over and over and over again. But the middle is where most people read and most people write.

I have long felt that the avant-garde extremes of art (whether in film, music, literature…) represented just as impoverished a vision as the genre fare against which it is so often contrasted.

Rather than being “high” art, such hyper-refined pap is merely the low art of an artificial aristocracy, a struggle for creativity beyond the talents of the legacy kids who typically engage in it, and no less an expression of the idioms and ideals of its class — and no less desperate — than the striving of the latest copycat writer trying to disguise Twilight or True Blood fan fiction behind a new set of character names.

So, three huzzahs to Cronin for standing up for writing that is both well-done and entertaining!

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