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Harry Mount: The novel is far from dead

6th July 2010

British writer Harry Mount has lent his weight to the argument that modern novelists are producing 'downright boring' books - but believes there is still hope for the novel.

Last week, New York Observer critic Lee Siegel sparked debate in the literary world when he claimed that the American novel has become a 'museum-piece genre' and the best storytellers of the modern age are non-fiction writers.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mount argued that the problem lies with authors, not the nature of the genre itself.

'People haven't lost the capacity for reading novels. They're just longing for good stuff and it's in woefully short supply,' the Amo, Amas, Amat... and All That writer suggested.

He also took issue with the claim made by many literary doom-mongers that the death of the novel is being hastened by the internet. Mount argued that novelists should be inspired by the vibrancy of the web to create interesting, entertaining or poignant works for their readers.

Also pitching in to the debate caused by Siegel's comments, Robert McCrum denied that the novel is at risk of demise, asserting in his Guardian column that modern writers are bringing about a 'golden age of English language creativity'.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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