What I’m talking about is the state of constant distraction we live in and how that affects the very special energies required for tackling a substantial work of fiction—for immersing oneself in it and then coming back and back to it on numerous occasions over what could be days, weeks, or months, each time picking up the threads of the story or stories, the patterning of internal reference, the positioning of the work within the context of other novels and indeed the larger world. Every reader will have his or her own sense of how reading conditions have changed, but here is my own experience.
Whether reading news articles or books, we feel the distractions itch at our brain.But is The Goldfinch any good? It’s Tartt—But Is It Art?
Yet despite our society’s general lack of focus, we aren’t necessarily abandoning long books—the Goldfinch, one of the most popular novels on the market right now, is 771 pages long. But this lack of focus does mean that modern books increasingly cater to the short-term attention span.
In April it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the judges of which praised it as “a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.”Vanity Fair's Donna Tartt Piece Reduces All Literary Criticism to Childish Squabbling
It’s also gotten some of the severest pans in memory from the country’s most important critics and sparked a full-on debate in which the naysayers believe that nothing less is at stake than the future of reading itself.
« Older Every year students at Madonna University's Sign L... | Evolutionary biologist debunks... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments