The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

fishThose in the business—the literature business—often get excited over a complex and challenging narrative structure which manipulates voice and character and time in often confusing ways. There are excellent examples from Joyce to Nabokov to Faulkner, so many that there was a bit of a backlash against the overly manipulated novel and various forms of minimalism have become popular (have you read Peter Markus: Good, BrotherThe Singing Fish; Bob, or Man on Boat?).

But there are categories of fiction that rely on complexity, details, and very twisty plot structures; yet, those in the realm of literature often miss out on these novels because the stories are less concerned with understanding man’s place in the world than with telling a good and possibly exciting story that will leave the reader gasping for more. Most novels in this category tend to be filed under Genre Fiction in the bookstore: some of it is pretty bad, but a great deal of it is fascinating reading.

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