writing that's direct, morally complex, and personal at the same time
January 29, 2010 1:00 AM Subscribe
There's no shortage of excellent "what to read" threads around here, but I'm looking for something a bit more specific. The tricky part is I'm looking for a style and a point of view, rather than a particular genre or subject.
posted by TayBridge to writing & language (46 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Three main criteria:
1. Prose that is clear, sharp, and direct even to the point of becoming astringent; generally avoids becoming florid, precious, or too self-consciously literary.
2. Presents (or suggests) a world that is morally complex. Author and/or narrator is non-dogmatic, with a reluctantance to make easy generalizations, and is bemused by, outright hostile to, or otherwise estranged from conventional morality (however that might be defined in the book).
3. Point of view is unambiguously personal, with no pretense to objectivity or universal experience, but without being self-indulgent.
I don't care about fiction or non-fiction; genre, format, time period, subject, etc., do not matter. (Although, perhaps, I would prefer to avoid books with supernatural themes.)
Depending on how loosely you interpret these criteria, a lot of books might seem to fit, but I'm really hoping to find writing that truly exemplifies these qualities.
A random sampling of books & authors that hit this target for me: Joan Didion, Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado, Mary Gaitskill, J. Christopher Herold's Mistress to an Age, the eXile compendium, Of Human Bondage.
Thank you, genius MeFites!