Note to literary fiction authors.
09 March 2016
by Chloe Benjamin and Chloe Krug BenjaminTrade Paperback
And here it is: I don't really need all of my novels to turn into a thriller about halfway through.
Now sure, I know that thrillers are hot and are what is selling these days. But lately it seems like whatever novel I start always has some big sinister twist in the middle, and I really don't need that. Because here's the thing: I'm older now, and I realize I don't really need all that much excitement. To me life itself is the big thriller. And the sinister twist in the middle? Yeah, it's called middle age, and I'm going to be busy for a while seeing if that ends well*, so in the meantime I'd just like to read a good book about some human relationships that I don't have to be in.
The book that made me think that just lately was Chloe Benjamin's The Anatomy of Dreams. Here's some of the copy from the back: "It's 1998, and Sylvie Patterson, a bookish student at a Northern California boarding school, falls in love with a spirited, elusive classmate named Gabe. Gabe is a protege of their charismatic headmaster, Dr. Adrian Keller, a scientist who has staked his career on the therapeutic potential of lucid dreaming...Years later, Sylvie decides to follow Gabe--now a fierce devotee of Keller and his cause--and they assume a peculiar, nocturnal existence, traveling from the redwood forests of Eureka to the New England coast."
Now, that wouldn't make you think that the book was particularly thriller-ish, would you? Maybe a bit coming of age, maybe a bit love triangle-y or weirdly co-dependent, but not necessarily a thriller. It wasn't badly done, it just wasn't quite what I was expecting. I suppose I should have known it probably wouldn't be my cuppa when I saw the blurb from Lorrie Moore on it. I am no fan of Lorrie Moore.
But what about you? Finding that every novel you pick up these days is trying to be noir-ish? Or is that just me?
*And by ends well I mean I hope my middle age is followed by an old age that is just long enough and no longer. You know what I'm saying? That's not too much to ask, is it?