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Experimental fiction in Canada: the great non-debate

In his latest Globe and Mail column, author (and recent Governor General’s Award fiction juror) Russell Smith looks at Ben Marcus’s attack on Jonathan Franzen in the most recent issue of Harper’s. (Franzen has questioned the value of experimental fiction in a couple of New Yorker articles, for which Marcus angrily takes him to task.)

The piece has led to some debate, but Smith notes that it hasn’t reverberated in Canadian media circles, possibly because the very idea of “experimental fiction” doesn’t even make the radar up here. “They have experimental fiction down there. Our debates here are different — they are about subtle differences in taste that all circle around the conventional or realist novel.”

Still, Smith did apparently find some experimental treasures amid his GG reading list: in the column, he praises Sheila Heti’s Ticknor, Thomas Wharton’s The Logogryph, and Greg Kearney’s Mommy Daddy Baby.

(Note: You need to register to access this one on the Globe site.)

Related links:
Click here for the entry page to Russell Smith’s Globe and Mail column
Click here for an excerpt from Ben Marcus’s Harper’s story