Monday Miscellany

The Heroine in the Drawing Room

Cynthia Crossen, books columnist for the Wall Street Journal, contemplates the meaning of the phrase domestic fiction, a genre often sneered at:

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road © DreamWorks

Domestic fiction, like all literary genres, can be bad, and bad in an especially cloying, attenuated and dreary way. I call bad domestic novels Hallmark fiction, and I put in this category such best-selling novels as Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones,” Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees” and Ann Packer’s “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier.” Even the titles seem treacly and manipulative. “The Help” teeters on the edge of this category except for the gut-wrenching back story that abusive relationships between servants and mistresses were once a normal way of life.

But domestic novels can also be majestic. A few examples: Marilynne Robinson’s “Housekeeping”; “Room” by Emma Donoghue; “I Know This Much Is True” by Wally Lamb; “Revolutionary Road” by Richard Yates; “The Slap” by Christos Tsiolkas; and pretty much anything by Trollope.

Five Favorite Works of Fiction

A medical student lists five novels that “have made me who I am; the books I would choose if I were stranded on a desert island.”

10 Literary Devices, And Where You Can Find Them in Science Fiction

Read about and view examples of these 10 classic literary devices:

  1. apostrophe
  2. synecdoche
  3. aporia
  4. pathetic fallacy
  5. bathos
  6. litotes
  7. stream of consciousness
  8. onomatopoeia
  9. personificaiton
  10. unreliable narrator

The 10 Best Cities For Aspiring Writers

Aspirant writers hoping to further their careers might be able to scratch up leads, jobs, and promotion and publishing chances in a wide number of cities, but the following just might grant them something of an edge. With so many professional positions, festivals, awards, and sites of literary significance to explore, chances are high they’ll find something to pique their budding careers.

Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
  1. New York, NY, USA
  2. London, England
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. Reykjavik, Iceland
  5. Edinburth, Scotland
  6. Istanbul, Turkey
  7. Dublin, Ireland
  8. Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales
  9. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  10. Norwich, England


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