Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Good' writing about 'bad' behavior

So it turns out that Allan Gurganus's introduction to Heather Lewis's last novel, "Terror, Eros and Animal: The Fiction of Heather Lewis," is available online (and well worth a look, I have just read it with huge interest) at ReadySteadyBook - a literary site; many thanks to Mark Thwaite for the link.


  1. Jenny, I checked out those links to Heather Lewis' fiction and I'm definitely gonna put her on my list of books to look out for (along with your heads up regarding Sara Gran).

    Sort of interesting talking about so-called "transgressive" fiction, after the discussion about Nick Chiles' lamentations about "black porn." While they certainly aren't the same thing, I've always been sort of leery about "transgressive" stuff because it often appeared to me to depend on shock for its own sake, but in a bad way, 'cause I happen to like that sort of stuff at times. The type of "shocking" stuff that I avoid like the plague is the self-absorbed litany of horrors that fails to make up a credible, coherent story. Kathy Acker comes to mind, although there was much of her work that I liked...but more that just bored the hell out of me.

    Don't know if you're familiar with Iain Banks' "The Wasp Factory" which sort of illustrates my thoughts on what I have in mind about very good transgressive fiction.

    Again, thanks for the heads up on Lewis.

  2. Yes, do check out Lewis, I think you'll really, really like her stuff. I pretty much love transgressive fiction, not Kathy Acker but I ADORE "The Wasp Factory" (and Iain Banks in general--did you read "Complicity," BTW? that's the closest to a conventional crime novel, and it's great). Jenny Diski's novel might also be to your taste, it's not a crime novel per se but it's got all the virtues of the best noir fiction.

  3. What's the title of Diski's novel. I'm actually not that hot on stright crime fiction...I've been reading lots of them 'cause I gotta learn some how, right? My notion of the perfect "crime novel" would be the bastard offspring of James Cain, Jim Thompson and Poppy Z. Brite. Stuff like stright capers and heists and bank robberies and shit like that don't do a thing for me...there has to be that noir feel to it, or at least it's gotta be hard-boiled.