Friday, December 30, 2005

Genre Confusion Redux

In "The Best of 2005 Books" twelve of Newsday’s regular reviewers offer up their personal favourites from the past year.

In her segment, Claire Dederer singles out Melissa Bank’s The Wonder Spot for praise, describing it as “an adept follow-up to The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing.” A few sentences later she prefaces another of her fiction recommendations thus: “And despite the fact that I generally detest linked story collections, I was charmed by Elizabeth McKenzie's Stop That Girl.”

Did Dederer not notice that both The Wonder Spot and The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing are linked story collections? It would appear that half of her top fiction picks for 2005 as well as at least one favourite from a previous year are linked short story collections. How does that square with a general detestation of the form? It’s no wonder that short stories are such a tough sell when even people who like them think that they don’t like them.

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