But I'm fascinated by it. In what way was she misrepresented?
And in hindsight, does anyone know if her reputation suffered, or she lost money? Going by money alone, I would have thought she would have made more money from a crime book or a thriller.
I once attended a lecture where a professor of literature did actually state that the writing and reading of crime novels and thrillers should be discouraged, as they were (and I quote) 'transparent, and didn't lend themselves to academic study'.
Uh, did you read the link I posted? Where Brady says that she never said she was dumbed down and how it was offensive to thriller writers to even suggest it? That's how she was misrepresented, according to her.
Yeah, I saw that story in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago and even placed the article link on my blog. According to John Dishon, she's innocent, but when I read the story in the NY Times, it did make her look bad. I read John's link as well, and to be fair, she could easily have been misquoted. Everyone can read both articles and decide for themselves I suppose.
It still leaves unanswered a question in my mind...whether the reputation of genre fiction has improved or not. Here's the link to the Times Article:
Having read all the links now (sorry about that John) I am even more confused than ever. If, as she states, her 'mental faculties haven't deteriorated', and crime/thrillers is 'a remarkable genre where much of the best writing is done', why did she sue? And nowhere in any of the reports I've read has any newspaper claimed that you need to be stupid to write thrillers, as she says they did.
I can't make my mind up if it has done genre writing any harm, or any good. Probably the latter, but perhaps that's only my prejudices peeking out. I've been in too many situations where genre fiction is dismissed out of hand.
I've already told of one academic'sview of mystery/crime fiction. Here's another tale. I had a friend who lectured in literature in a local university, and wrote short stories. One of his colleagues was highly critical of Mills and Boon romance novels, so my friend challenged her to write one. She took up the challenge, and couldn't get her book published anywhere. So she wrote another one, and a third one, and still no one would publish them. She gave up eventually, but her view never changed that they were trashy and easy to write.
She sued because she ended up with nerve damage as a result of breathing in the toxins of the glue used by the shoe factory. She has still not recovered fully, and (if memory serves) has been told some of the damage is permanent. There was also some legal action against the town.
Look, the woman was misquoted and promptly villianized in the genre community. The ongoing back and forth over perceived (and sometimes real) slights against crime fiction marches on, but this author was not bashing thrillers or thriller writers. I suspect she was more interested in her physical health than a genre vs. literary fiction debate.
And yet she's still disdainful! I suppose looking down on something is a sport rather enjoyed by a lot of so-called intellectuals. Yawn. I happen to think that crime fiction (even historical c.f.), reflects the world we all live in. and weaving a plot with twists and suprises is far from easy. who cares, we don't need the snobs. Let them curl up with "the great works of literarure," while the rest of us have fun reading and writing!
Crime fiction could be a great deal better if people didn't write formula to turn out 3 or 4 titles a year. Some crime fiction is as strong as the better literary fiction.
However, I don't think John Banville should write mysteries. Besides, I don't much like it that he uses a pseudonym when he does.
Actually, there's a long tradition of writers using pseudonyms in crime fiction and not because they feel particularly ashamed or embarrassed about what they are producing. Some contemporary writers do this either because a) it's fun or b) as a way to keep different branches or styles of their writing distinct. This last can be helpful in the current publishing state of hyper-marketing awareness.
Banville has been particularly ambivalent about his crime fiction books and does seem to think they are somehow inferior to his 'literary' work. That's not terribly common across the history of the genre and those who use/d pen names, though.