Not-so-bright young things

Apparently the only way to get attention for your “literary” novel (apart from offering sacrifices to the gods and hoping Oprah will bring you into her club) is to write what people take to be a roman a clef about literary novelists, and therefore get columnists and journalists speculating about which literary authors you’re writing about. In other words, you  make like Keith Gessen and write All the Sad Young Literary Men, and get the likes of Gawker wondering about the true identities of Keith, Mark and Sam. Hey, I subscribe to the NYRB and visit GalleyCat regularly, so I took a crack at the guessing game, but it turns out I’m still a piker at lit-gossip. And now Joyce Carol Oates and Scott McLemee point out that simply reading the book for its own literary sake would be a far better use of my time.

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