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Great American Novel

Is 'The Great American Novel' a Useless Concept?

Claire Fallon | Posted 12.17.2013 | Books
Claire Fallon

Our national preoccupation with the concept is somewhat odd -- no other country seems to share this need to score ambitious new novels by whether it's a "Great _____ Novel contender."

The Year I Stopped Reading Men

Anna Szymanski | Posted 10.29.2013 | Books
Anna Szymanski

It was like when you turn on a TV set after spending a significant period of time streaming television online. Suddenly, you're covering your ears and asking why those Kia hamsters can't play a different song. You never used to notice the commercials, but now they're all you can hear.

Write the Great American Novel In 10 Easy Steps

Ester Bloom | Posted 08.20.2013 | Books
Ester Bloom

Be a dude, ideally dead. Questions to ask yourself: What's the body count? Are your characters suffering? Add more violence. Are your characters sufficiently coarsened by the inequities of modern life? Add more profanity.

Are Writers Finishing Great Novels, Or Are Great Novels Finished?

Michael Levin | Posted 01.12.2013 | Books
Michael Levin

Fifty years from now, if people are still reading long-form fiction (say, anything longer than a Twitter feed), what contemporary authors' works will survive? I'll wait.

The Word Collector: Willa Cather's 'My Antonia'

Dana Sachs | Posted 11.28.2012 | Books
Dana Sachs

People often speak of Cather's story about Jim Burden and his friendship with his childhood playmate Antonia as one of our great American novels

Can The Great American Novel Exist?

Kevin Hayes | Posted 05.15.2012 | Books
Kevin Hayes

Can the phrase "Great American Novel" only be applied to realistic novels that attempt to capture the mainstream American experience? Or can it be applied to other novels that are more diverse in terms of either subject matter or literary approach?

Feminine Tosh

Meg Waite Clayton | Posted 08.13.2011 | Women
Meg Waite Clayton

At Printer's Row Book Festival in Chicago last weekend, a big topic of conversation was a remark by a prominent male writer that no woman writer was his equal. He used the term "feminine tosh."Tosh" swiftly became the buzz word of the weekend.

Weiner Escalates Feud With Franzen Coverage

The Guardian | Alison Flood | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books

Dubbing the pre-publication furore "Franzenfrenzy", Weiner put out a call to her 15,000 Twitter follows "for non-Franzen novels about love, identity, ...

"Hub Fans" Redux: John Updike, Ted Williams, and the Great American Essay

Christopher Carduff | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Christopher Carduff

"The heart of fandom," John Updike once wrote, "is identification": that's my team at the top of the division, those are my guys chasing the pennant, and c'mon, let's face it, we're the best.

Serena: This Fall's Most Dangerous Novel

Jeff Biggers | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media
Jeff Biggers

As unforgettable as a haunting mountain ballad, Serena unfolds like a brilliantly conceived cautionary tale and mediation on the dark corners of unbridled lust to profit at any cost.