Thursday, March 8, 2007

Granta offers up their list of the Best Young American Novelists

They define "young" as under 35, but last time they did this "young" was under 40. Young keeps getting younger, I guess, which makes me nervous because I'm not.

Granta also defines "novelist" differently than I might because some of the writers on their list haven't written novels (though they may be working on novels-in-progress.) I don't know yet what I think about this. I think it's good that short story writers aren't excluded from receiving recognition from a prestigious publication, but then I also think stories aren't novels. Story and novel are different, not the same at all. When my story collection came out, nothing irritated me more than hearing someone ask was I working on a novel, when would I have a novel out. I don't think of story as practice for novel; I think if anything, story is closer to poem. But mostly, I think story is its own kind of art.

I've been reading this Truman Capote biography. When his work first began to appear in the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly during the 1940's and 50's, the public read stories and talked about stories the way they watch and talk about movies today. It's hard to imagine.

Click here for the Granta list.

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