It’s Like Apples and… What?


26 September 2009

This statement by John Grisham in the Telegraph last week about his approach to writing makes me realize just how unproductive and illogical it is to make comparisons between or generate debates about the relative value of Grishamesque/Dan Brown thrillers and literary novels that are driven by elements other than pure suspense:

“I know that what I do is not literature… For me, the essential component of fiction is plot. My objective is to get the reader to feel impelled to turn the pages as quickly as possible. If I want to achieve that, I can’t allow myself the luxury of distracting him. I have to keep him hanging on and the only way to do it is by using the weapons of suspense. There is no other way. If I try to understand the complexities of the human soul, people’s character defects and those types of things, the reader gets distracted.”

It’s not even like apples and oranges; it’s like apples and… artichokes? Onions?  I don’t even know.


2 Responses to “It’s Like Apples and… What?”

  1. Eric Says:

    It’s definitely not fruit-to-fruit, whatever it is. Apples to french fries, maybe.

  2. Lisa N.R. Says:

    Yikes. “Distracted” by the complexities of the human soul. Wouldn’t want the reader “distracted” by such things. Reminds me of the film “Brazil” where all the food was in little gray piles of pureed mush, but had a photo of what it was stuck in the goo with a pin. Barely edible mush with no flavor, masquerading as food, as sustenance. Nowhere close to an apple.

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