Posted March 21, 2007on:
I don’t think I feel comfortable having Guardian Book blog on my blogroll any more. For every interesting, thoughtful, fun post there’s about four pointlessly “controversial”, foolish ones. That this was penned by an Orange Broadband judge…I don’t know, hasn’t this sort of thing been argued and dealt with already? It’s too bad that she buried her reasonable point beneath a half-witted conclusion.
If this year’s Orange Prize longlist were a benchmark of women’s literary health then we would have little to worry about, as it demonstrates that women authors at the top of their game have no trouble thinking big, inventing and dreaming. But while these wonderful authors are representative of the very best women writers they are not, sadly, representative of the majority of women authors currently being published.
Judging by the increasing lack of inventiveness and imagination amongst too many, though not all, women authors it would seem that we have either been persuaded to stay within a narrow experience in order to be “taken seriously”, or more worryingly we are cautiously self-censoring because we are afraid of the gathering forces that are threatening feminism both domestically and internationally. As a judge in this year’s Orange prize, it’s hard to ignore the sheer volume of thinly disguised autobiographical writing from women on small-scale domestic themes such as motherhood, boyfriend troubles and tiny family dramas. These writers appear to have forgotten the fundamental imperative of fiction writing. It’s called making stuff up.
As you read on you’ll realise that the real problem for Muriel Gray isn’t the theme but the “memoiritis”, as I called it in comments. One could very well “make stuff up” about home life. Of course artists don’t have to do anything. And it’s not big news that most of anything is crap.
Yep. If I link to the Guardian book blog anymore it will only be to the good ones that grab my interest. Don’t hold your breath.