Mixed Feelings

May 5th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We’ve been hearing stories about Transita for the past couple of months — a whisper here, a question there. Always with the underlying “they’re looking for stories about/by older women”. Followed by “what does that mean?”

Yeah, well, what does that mean?

Fiction has traditionally celebrated the younger woman (and man, let’s be fair). The rite of passage makes for the basics of literature. There is nothing more interesting than the transition from callow youth to responsible adult. Unless, of course, you’re a responsible adult. Then you begin to realize that life has more to offer than a mortgage. Also, this is where you realize that the promised happy ending has been delayed for a couple of decades.

Give or take.

Part of us is excited by Transita because the line is making a concerted effort to focus on the stories that “demographics” say don’t sell. The other part wants to know why such a line is necessary. The stories exist. Then we start thinking again (never have third thoughts).

Are the books by and/or about older women meeting the needs of all readers? See previous posts about literature and genre fiction. Are publishers of literature not meeting the needs of all readers? Is it possible that a new line is necessary to fill a literary hole?

We’d like to think no, but the ultimate arbiter is sales. If Transita succeeds, then it seems a need wasn’t being met. If not, well, we have to resign ourselves to a future of middle-aged women more depressed than our own age group.

File Under: Publishers and Editors