Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September Believer

The September Believer is out, with Rich Cohen on car salesmen, an interview with Rebecca Solnit, Damion Searls's take on the abridged Moby Dick; an amazing excerpt from Stephen Elliott's The Adderall Diaries, Jack Pendarvis's new column, and more (Nick Cave...Brad Neely...). I'm especially excited by Sara Gran and Megan Abbott's piece on V.C. Andrews:

You could argue that Andrews’s books are so unusual and original that critics, scholars, and other “serious” readers don’t know what to do with them. Though there’s an obvious debt to the Brontë sisters, nineteenth-century sensation novels like Lady Audley’s Secret, and Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic fiction, at heart Andrews’s novels have little in common with the genres where they ought to fit. They’re too offbeat for romance, too slow to qualify as thrillers, too explicit for Gothic, and far too dark and complex for young adult. Many booksellers shelve them with horror, but Andrews’s concerns with family, emotion, and relationships put her books firmly outside the genre. Although the supernatural makes brief appearances in Andrews’s work, her largest topic is the all-too-natural tragedy of families gone wrong.

Ultimately, Andrews’s novels constitute their own genre, in which secrets, lies, desire, and moral corruption all stem from—and are contained in—the family. In her world, parents starve their children, sister and brother become husband and wife, and grandparents punish grandchildren for being “devil’s spawn.” No one is to be trusted, and few adults are who they claim to be. Most significantly, there are no happy endings. For all their teen-girl fantasy elements, the books are also gritty, raw, and extremely dirty. There is little cynical or formulaic about them. If anything, they are too raw, too revealing of the author’s own obsessions—which, as we’ll see, might be exactly why no one ever talks about them.

(You must buy the magazine for the whole article...it's worth it™.)

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