Thursday, July 10, 2008

Too cynical for words

Have you become cynical and jaded from reading too much crime fiction?

I think I have. I started America, America by Ethan Canin--what I am sure is a brilliant novel about...well, America and politics. I have read other work by Canin in the past and admired and liked them.

But the characters in this novel were all just too damned nice, noble, polite to feel real. Even the stinking rich people were admirable. It didn't conform to my notion of a believable story, my notion of the world.

So it didn't work for me and I put it aside. Has reading too many books about the wretched of the earth ruined mainstream novels for you? Am I going to live in an Ellroy world from now on? What was the last book about nice people you liked?

12 comments:

J. Kingston Pierce said...

The last book about nice people that I liked? That's an easy question to answer: Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo. A terrific novel, and a welcome escape from the negative outlook on the world that one often comes away with from reading too much crime fiction.

Cheers,
Jeff

pattinase (abbott) said...

He is the exception, isn't he? I especially love his early work. STRAIGHT MAN, NOBODY"S FOOL. THE RISK POOL, MOHAWK.

David Cranmer said...

I'm thinking The Bridges of Madison County. Come to think of it, that was the early 90s. I'm long overdue!

Clair Dickson said...

XD

I can't blame my cynicism on crime fiction. I blame it on life.

What's wrong with finding a dark lining to every cloud, anyway? =)

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder if there is a direct correlation between temperament and the kind of book written. Do cozy writers seem a more benign universe or are they trying to cheer themselves (and us) up with their books?

pattinase (abbott) said...

And hey, I just learned what XD means. XD.

Todd Mason said...

Excessive bastards become somewhat ridiculous...see the recent fuss over the Duane S. novel, where some folks were thinking that it had become an empty exercise, others that it was at very least a fun ride.

But relatively few cf novels have a more grim view of humanity than, say, James Thurber. Or Twain. Though they are mildly extreme examples.

r2 said...

SO...what does XD mean?

Todd Mason said...

I'm guessing squinting while laughing/smiling broadly.

My Forgotten Book's up. (Rings bell) :*

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's the LOL. I guess LOL wore its welcome out from overuse.

David Cranmer said...

I'm a big lol overuser. Now I can scratch it from my vocab... XD

Linda McLaughlin said...

I don't read a lot of crime fiction, and cynical. I'm with Clair, life causes cynicism. You just have to follow the news to get that way, IMO. Maybe that's why I still read romance, as an antidote to real life. :D

Linda