Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The multistory novel

In The Guardian, Julian Gough argues that, while the traditional outlets for short story publishing have declined, the form itself survives within longer works.
What contemporary readers don't seem to like are short stories that don't connect to each other. Why? Perhaps because our lives feel fragmented enough already. Television too has almost abandoned the single, self-contained drama. People like art to make sense out of chaos but without denying the chaos. That demand is a tremendous opportunity for the natural short story writer, who merely needs to come up with an organising principle. It's just another technical challenge. Story itself is infinitely flexible, and doesn't much care how you tell it or what you call it. These stacks of stories, reinvented for the urban 21st century, could be called the multistory novel.

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