Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What’s Up, Docx?

Edward Docx (right) had a piece in Sunday’s Observer, in which he pointed out that Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson aren’t much cop when compared to literary geniuses. He won’t get much argument about that here, but Docx then went on to trash pretty much all genre fiction, and claim that literary fiction is innately superior to any other kind of fiction, but crime fiction in particular, on the basis that genre fiction is constrained by conventions that must be adhered to by the genre writer, whereas the literary writer is free to write whatever he or she likes.
  Predictably enough, the crime fic spectrum of the blogosphere is up in arms about Docx’s temerity in dissing crime fiction. And, as always, I can’t help but wonder if the virulent reaction to the piece isn’t ever so slightly coloured by some kind of inferiority complex. I mean, it’s not as if we haven’t heard variations on this theme countless times before, and yet every time some self-proclaimed literary writer mounts this particular hobby horse, the peasants are out en masse waving torches and pitchforks. Really, shouldn’t that sore spot, so often rubbed up the wrong way, have developed a callus at this stage?
  It’s only my opinion, of course, but I reckon the only reasonable response to Docx’s piece, and to the next one, and the one after that, etcetera, ad nauseam, is this:
*yawns*
*scratches oxter*
*wonders why literary writers get so het up about crime fiction if it’s so crap*
*thinks about boiling kettle*
*wonders why genre writers don’t get so het up about literary fiction, and if maybe it’s because they’re too busy writing*
*yawns*
*scratches oxter*