Putting the ‘commercial’ into commercial fiction

I’m reblogging Jenny Harper’s thoughts on the difference between commercial fiction and literary fiction. This post first appeared on Take Five Authors, a group blog of which Jenny and I are part.

Take Five Authors

Take two novels: each has lively, interesting characters, each is well written. Each has a theme – let’s say, a love triangle. Each explores the strengths and weaknesses, desires and motivations of the main characters. Yet one is described as ‘literary’, the other as ‘commercial’.

What underpins that distinction?

A year or so ago, a friend urged me to read Jonathan Franzen’s hugely lauded book, Freedom, which I listened to on audio. It was, at heart, about a love triangle. It was very long, extremely well written in the sense that the prose was admirable and his exploration of character profound, yet it seemed to me to amble through various people’s lives and come to no very interesting conclusion. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t either like or care about any of the characters and at the end of the book I was left thinking, ‘Why?’.

Read a great thriller, action…

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1 Comment

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One response to “Putting the ‘commercial’ into commercial fiction

  1. Thanks for reblogging, Sue! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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