Every now and then the media decides that the novel is on the decline and they might as well hold a funeral right now. The Wall Street Journal is doing that today with an article on how memoirs are in, and novels are out.
Of course there’s no hard data. It’s all spicy little anecdotes. I am amazed, really, at the degree to which some journalists buy into their own sense of power. The WSJ declares the novel dead, and so it must be. Put down that copy of Pride and Prejudice (not you, Beth. you keep reading) and pick up a memoir. Forget that Byatt has a new novel out, you want to read James Frey’s memoirs… oh. Those memoirs turned out to be fiction, didn’t they.
I’m never following a link to the WSJ again. I’d much rather read weblogs written by librarians. For example, fuse#8, who has the best job of any librarian I’ve ever come across. She works in the Donnell Central Children’s Room in Manhattan. And who is there working with her? Winnie the Pooh. The original. The real. She has a lot of interesting news about children’s books, and she writes wonderful, thoughtful reviews.