Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Writing Of Autumn

The days get shorter and there's something rather sad about climbing out of bed before the sun is up. A mood is created from the start of the day and it filters into the writing.

Such gloom has me thinking this morning of a new novel I could write. Not that I'd really write it. More like lifting someone else's and then submitting it to see what happens.

In part. I'm not advocating plagiarism.

Patricia Engel's novel Vida is reviewed in the New York Times today, and I am inspired.

The coming of age story is wildly popular if the person coming of age is a young lady of foreign birth, preferably from an ethnic group that is facing prejudice at the hands of the right-leaning.

Ms. Engel has created an Hispanic character who endures all the same sorts of difficulties that children of immigrants always experience. It's the same things the Irish found when they landed on American shores, but of course they're accepted now and the markets for historical fiction are limited. Publishers don't want to print books that remind people of how things were exactly the same a century ago as they are now and what the Hispanics face isn't any different than the discrimination leveled at the Irish, the Italians or the Eastern European Jews.

Why not take the bones of Ms. Engel's novel and make the young lady coming of age a young lady from a Muslim country? How about The Kite Runner with a female protagonist?

I read a great deal, and that may be why I have the impression that there's nothing new out there to read. One novel is the same as the next, the plot and the character's dilemma and the resolution.

Books are beginning to look like factory-produced widgets, each one stamped out on the same press.

Or maybe it's just the shorter days and the first of the falling leaves skittering across the lawn that create a sense of mourning over the loss of summer's brightness.

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