Saturday, June 16, 2007

Revelling in Misery

I recently commented that we are drowning in misery memoirs, and in yesterday's Guardian Esther Addley considers why they are so popular and have taken the publishing industry by storm, indeed creating a whole new readership. Is it prurience that's operating here, as psychologist Oliver James 'unsettlingly' allows it could be? Or is it catharsis as one publisher claims - less worrying, if you overlook the implication that, as James, says 'a hell of a lot of people have had ... cruelty inflicted on them'? Or is it this, which he also allows, and which I am always saying: that 'when you read them you feel that your own lot isn't quite so bad' (which means of course that they lack the universal power of fiction)?

4 comments:

Jean's Blog said...
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Anonymous said...

It is 90% prurience, especially with books entitled in what seems to me a deliberate provocativeness ' 'Daddy please stop ' (or a variation of.) Time for a moratorium on them.


SUSAN HILL

Elizabeth Baines said...

I'm afraid you may be right.

Vanessa G said...

It's sad that it sells. And that there are shareholders waiting for their dividends. Or is that a little too provocative?

Vanessa