Recently in the NYT, I read a piece about the books of summer, how if something is written by a woman and it is about a relationship it gets the dreaded title "chick lit" or "women's fiction." (Is there such a thing as "men's fiction"? Would anyone dare to say that?) The author of the piece remarked that Updike wrote about relationships, and would anyone have dared to put out his novels with frilly-looking pink covers or cartoon drawings on them? When The Corrections came out it was heralded as something revolutionary, yet this book was really about what women have been writing about for decades. If a woman had written it, would it have gotten so much press? The tired adage is that men read thrillers, historical books and if they read about relationships it had better be written by a man, but how true is that? (It isn't in my world.)
Personally, I prefer my books dark, thorny and full of interesting characters, and what is more interesting than the drama of human relationships?
On that grumpy note, I am going back to writing. It is dark. There is violence and a mystery of sorts. It is set in the 1950s. And it involves the drama of family relationships.