Rachel's Blog: Australian Novels are Dying. Again.

Fri, 24 Mar 2006

I've been sitting on a couple of reading related articles for a few days hoping to come up with something profound or even just well thought out to say about them. However, I have had a rotten cold and it's not happening, so here are the incomplete thoughts.

Rosemary Neill in The Australian is tolling the bell for Australian literary novels. This is something we see every few years. Each time the publishing figures get dragged out and are largely inconclusive, (12 published novels in 1996, and 7 scheduled for 2006 is not a pattern - it's two numbers) yet hair is rent because of them. Literature is like anything else. It goes in cycles. Sometimes writing for young adults is the flavour (thanks to a Harry Potteresque hit), sometimes it's mysteries, (are tv shows like CSI et al responsible for, or following on from this?) hell, sometimes it's blogs, sometimes it's slash fiction.

The thing to remember is that human beings will always need stories. The form they arrive in is merely a fashion. Does anyone weep when high-rise pants are brought back into the stores? (Well, yes, but that's another blog entry.) If individuals are going to remain attached to the idea of the Australian literary novel, then they're going to have to keep writing them and keep reading them. They might be hard to come by for a while, and you won't be able to make a living from them, but they'll be back in the limelight eventually. (A hundred years eventually, but I don't know what to say to that. Take your vitamins?)

And trying to blame Bookscan as a quantum observer is just silly.