Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Marianne Wiggins, sausage maker

It's become automatic that once literary prize winners are announced, articles come thick and fast telling how those cloistered juries arrived at the winners.
Marianne Wiggins writes rather bitterly about her experience of reading 258 novels in a three month period, and after winnowing that down to a list of five "we were uniformly underwhelmed."
Wiggins also notes that "outside of a Bible and a phone book, many households in the United States probably own (and read) zero works of serious fiction."
Lets hope these poor unfortunates missed their L.A Times that day as well.
I'll always take the side of writers and writing over any other form of entertainment high or low, but this sort of elitist nonsense doesn't help foster any serious discussion " of how writers of serious fiction manage to survive."
Those households Wiggins dismisses as being filled with idiots have kids, jobs and likely demands on their time that may make indulging in serious fiction a fairly low priority. That's a shame, but it's certainly not the fault of those Wiggins uniformly dumps on.
It should be said that she was previously shortlisted for the National Book Award in 2003 and has had a long career. But I wonder if booksellers who read this tripe have silently put her in the "pass" column.
I will add Richard Powers' Echo Maker to my pile. There's been nothing but praise since the NBA winner was announced.

Posted by Dave


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Anonymous said...

The most telling comment of the article to me was that in a blind trial Roth would have been on the short list. So in the view of the committee, the honour of being on the list, for people like Roth, is less worthy than the shame of not winning.

Anonymous said...

If you read Marianne Wiggins THE SHADOW CATCHER, and want to explore further an interest in Edward S. Curtis...

Search out THE INDIAN PICTURE OPERA, on Amazon. It's a fascinating recreation of ES Curtis lectures on Americas West and its Indians, as he saw them.. circa 1900.


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