Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Congratulations to Elizabeth Strout on her Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge. She's the antithesis of the academic: she writes books with great characters, an evocative setting, and a good plot; she's a Mainer (born in Portland) even though she lives in New York; it takes her many years to write a book; she's a failed lawyer. What a great combination!

Fiction like hers upholds the grand tradition of story-telling. She reserves self-conscious musing for the characters, not for the author. She uses language for its place in her heart, not just in her mind. Her characters are stand-ins for no one but themselves. She doesn't worry about the "role of the novel," "the death of the novel," "the meta-novel" - she's a writer.

As long as fiction has writers like this, it will have readers.

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