Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What a way to make a living

The Atlantic Monthly profiles thriller writer Harlan Coben (no free link). I'd never read Coben's books but in my former career I'd sold his stuff for years. In response to the question of whether or not crime fiction can ever rank with more literary fiction Coben's answer would seem to be "Who cares?" Coben never seems to deviate from his work habits, freely admits he doesn't outline, and is much more concerned with sales than themes. That said, I read this article in an airport; after learning that the arriving flight I was waiting for was delayed I went to the airport bookshop and bought Coben's Promise Me. I had about 2 extra hours to read, and of course I can't wait to find out how the @#$%^^ing thing ends.


Mark said...

I've recently come to the bizarre conclusion that literature should be...enjoyed. If you get through it quickly, and a lot of other people enjoy it, than it must be good. Shakespeare and Dickens were popular and avidly read in their day...

That was a beautiful article. I haven't been to happy with the changes. They've moved everyone I liked out - Christopher Hitchens in the only recognizable name left.

Simon Crowe said...

Things that are popular don't necessarily have to be mediocre. But as the article points out there's necessarily a sameness to genre fiction that you don't find in the work of "literary" writers.

Through 200 pages of "Promise Me" I think Coben is a serviceable writer whose control of plot is above average.