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Good & Bad Literary Fiction. What’s the difference?

By John Reese, Jul 10 2018 01:19AM

Whilst the evolution of self-publishing has proved a genuine boon for readers the bar for publishing has been notably lowered and in no genre more obviously than Literary Fiction. Yes there are a lot of great covers out there and carefully penned book blurbs hailing the masterful use of language and thought-provoking explorations about the human condition but there are far too many Literary Fiction novels failing to meet expectations.


Fans of literary fiction tend to lean away from fast-paced or tightly plotted novels with a preference for good prose, complex characterisation and challenging themes but whilst literary and commercial fiction have their own distinct conventions readers are still often confused about what the terms mean. Perhaps it is irrelevant and the only worthwhile distinction between books is whether they are good or bad. After all, arguing the merits of one genre over the other is fraught with contention but one thing is for sure and that is historically literary fiction has embraced a greater level of intellectual and psychological sophistication whilst rejecting formulaic tropes and cliché.


On this level, literary fiction embraces novels which tend towards the formally innovative and are preoccupied with a deeper understanding of the human condition as opposed to serving up an instantly gratifying story. Of course, there are other genre reads with literary merit too but perhaps we have veered too far from our original question.


We asked what the difference between Good & Bad Literary Fiction is and when it comes down to it the answer is extremely simple. It doesn’t matter what genre a reader leans towards a good novel should always engross and captivate a reader's thoughts because in the final analysis beautiful writing is no substitute for a compelling story.


One author who embraces the Literary Fiction genre is Jamie Zerndt who we recently had the pleasure of reviewing You can read our review HERE and also see how Jamie is using his rather distinctive narrative voice to attract an enthusiastic following.



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