Friday 18 March 2011

Is it me?

Is it me, or does everybody in the publishing industry seem to be obsessed with voice, perspective, style and rules?

Do you read for enjoyment or do you read for ‘the experience’? Do you look for a great story or a great ‘voice’?

Personally, I love to get swept away in a consuming story with characters I care about. Voice is secondary. I do admire the cleverness of a novel written in an original way, but these days I’d rather lose myself in a character’s struggle, than have my breath taken away by stunning prose.

Maybe it’s because I’m a busy mum with too much crap rattling around in my head. As I get older, my tolerance for culture is dwindling. In my twenties I was always up for watching a clever art house film, or listening to an experimental Mercury Music award winner. Now, I revel in paranormal romance, sci fi blockbusters and a bit of Paulo Nutini.

The gatekeepers of the publishing industry all talk about voice as if it is the only thing that matters. They’re constantly searching for authors who tell stories in new and inventive ways. But maybe they’re missing the point. Surely, for most, reading is a form of entertainment - a comfort or an escape.

Is this obsession with voice a prestige thing? A form of snobbery? Or is it really the way to move the publishing industry forward? A way to generate buzz and keep the mystique of literature. A publisher's ‘Finest’ range, made with organic, speciality ingredients. But sometimes the only thing that’s really going to hit the spot is a plate of curly fries.