Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Crime Fiction Soapbox

I carry around a crime fiction soapbox. It fits quite nicely under my arm, and I can toss it down whenever I feel the urge to argue my case: that crime fiction has literary merit too.

I try not to get on this soapbox too much. People only have so much tolerance for my arguments, and I’ve figured out that the most convincing proof is in the pudding. Just look at Walter Mosley’s work, Elmore Leonard, Joyce Carol Oates—I could go on a while, but someone just kicked me off my soapbox.

And Sarah Weinman said such smart things on her blog (June 28th post), so go see what she said.


  1. I think the problem stems from there being a genre that is called "literary" fiction (lots of pretty writing, character driven, maybe not so much plot) and the idea that something is Literary (enduring, touching on a universal truth about the human spirit, can be read many times and still bring something new to the reader each time).

    And you are absolutely right, mystery/crime/thriller authors can produce just as much Literature as any other authors, no matter the genre.

  2. See, that's why you're my friend. You're so smart. That's exactly what I meant to say.