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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Do We Keep Going Back to the Classics

I read contemporary writers. Always on the lookout, but a lot of times I am disappointed. No great judgement here just they don't deliver or they don't have the intensity or the book fizzles or the hype was not warranted. There are many who are contemporary and great. Many. But it does seem like I go in spurts of trying new writers and finding the lack of something I cant quite put my finger on. Maybe it is the age we live in.

Instant reflection loses something in the process and that is our age. The age of instant reflection. Something happens and it is reflected back to us right away. Fiction is a victim of this of course. The writers are giving back our daily life like it just happened yesterday and there is no underpinning no distance. There is no getting under the rug and seeing what is really going on. Like a blog we we just see what is going on this minute or a minute ago.

And fiction depends on something more. Why can I read an F. Scott Fitzgerald story twenty times and still appreciate its meaning, prose, heart. Why is that a touchstone when so many contemporary novels are forgettable or worse unfinishable. Again, there are many many great writers writing today that are producing very good fiction. But there does seem to be a trend or a least a dearth of these books. Maybe I am just looking in the wrong places.

Books by William Hazelgrove