the problem of new york

“More disturbing than the well-known situation of commercial publishing is the possibility that the cost of living in New York discourages resident novelists from risking lengthy, time-consuming projects. The future of intellectually and aesthetically ambitious fiction is a huge and complex subject involving conglomerate publishing, new media, text technology, literary education, and literacy itself. That future is global, but I’ve come to believe that New York may well be the representative leading – and double – edge. New York nourishes home-grown writers such as Lethem and Whitehead, attracts writers from abroad such as O’Neill and McCann, and honors its elder, DeLillo. New York offers the eight million stories of the naked city and makes a few writers millions, but I fear that New York also tamps down novelists’ aesthetic ambitions, turns them into careerists of modest, consumable art – not minimalism or maximalism but medianism – that will allow them to continue publishing in and maybe living in Cosmopolis.”

(Tom LeClair, “Going Up, Falling Down”, EBR)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.