On Reclaiming Storytelling

November 29th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

The first of these objections assumes the novel is a vulnerable form, easily manipulated and destabilised. That assumption is hardly borne out by its tumultuous 400-year history. The final objection, that it is no longer as easy to hoodwink readers as it used to be, is simply a slur on our grandparents. And a further obfuscation has grown up: the notion that there is a difference between novelists and storytellers. The assumption here is that the novelist is a creature of form and language, while the storyteller is occupied with the lesser act of narrative. There are several possible rebuttals to this distinction, depending on your literary tastes, but it is salutary to quote a defender of the contemporary literary novel, Fiammetta Rocco, one of this year’s Man Booker judges: “Reading 132 books in 147 days… you learn a great deal about why so many novels – even well-written, carefully crafted novels, as so many of those submitted were – are ultimately pointless.”

  • The return of story: Narrative went to the movies in the 20th century. But it’s returning to the novel (Note: You need to seek out the current articles to drill down to this piece, but it’s well worth the time and effort)

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