The Right Coast

October 13, 2004
Why I don't read mainstream literary fiction
By Tom Smith

Look at all these novelists voting for Kerry. If we can't trust their politics, why should be trust the stories they make up?

I can't read what passes for serious fiction these days. It strikes me as tedious, and anywhere from spiritually empty to misguided. Most fiction usually has some sort of moral content. The problem with most modern fiction of the serious sort is it is just morally off. Updike doesn't seem to realize that most men who cheat on their wives are not interesting souls, but assholes; Frazen is so dazzled by his own writing skill that he thinks it's OK he has nothing to say; Amy Tan, well, would her novels ever have been published if they were about white boys and men instead of Chinese girls and women? Some of these writers I have not heard of. I am very comfortable I am not missing anything. Somebody who doesn't write that well, but has a moral vision and is very funny, Tom Wolfe, is hounded from the club (not that he cares much). Of course nobody should care how these pompous toads vote. But it is reason to look for something else to read.