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August 02, 2007


Noosa Lee

Hi Dave

I don't get this at all. In the last month I've read four books in a row, (all published since 2003), that skipped about in different time frames. I didn't plan it that way, honest guv.

None of them fall into the above categories. Two of them ('The Sea House' by Esther Freud and 'Putting out the Stars' by Roisin Meaney) sold moderately well. Of the other two - 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and 'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell was short-listed for Man Booker and won the Richard and Judy gong for 'Best read of the year'.

I would class all of them as literary fiction. 'Cloud Atlas' is a very challenging book as it requires the reader to follow many peoples' stories over five time zones and five hundred pages. With each voice, the reader must get used to a whole new language and world view. Mitchell even stops mid-sentence to move onto a new phase. But this was a popular book.

Chick lit? Misery memoirs? Aren't they so last century since Bridget Jones retired from singletondom and James Frey was discredited? Crime fiction will always be popular but that's genre, right?

Your agent might need to buck up her ideas because if no new good books are being published, there are plenty of back catalogue masterpieces for us avid readers to get our teeth into. I bought all the above books at the Oxfam bookshop in Redbridge.




You could very easily do excellent chick lit. In ‘The Adoption’, you ‘got’ how women think embarrassingly well. That bit about the hair attractively spread out was annoyingly accurate. I actually paused my read to think that through. You must have many sisters, or something.

Dave Hill

Well, thanks LB.

MsP. Lots of different types of book get published but the sort publishers are keenest to invest money in are the types my agent described - she should know, her living depends on it. The moral of the story is that publishers are increasingly reluctant to risk paying decent sums for anything that doesn't fit into an established market niche. Some such books do catch on in sales terms, but most don't.

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