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Robert Collins: Less is often more with novels

18th March 2010

A novel does not have to be a weighty tome to be important, according to one writer in the Guardian.

Posting on the newspaper's books blog, The Soul Corporation author Robert Collins pointed out that many acclaimed novels have been written in less than 150 pages and make a greater impact on the reader than their longer rivals.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange and The Outsider by Albert Camus were cited as examples of slim, yet great, works.

'When they're this good, short novels come close to perfection in a manner for which longer novels are simply not equipped,' he wrote.

Collins suggested that the power of shorter novels stems from the authors' confidence in their message, as when they have something important to write, they want to say it as clearly and concisely as possible.

Lorrie Moore, who was recently nominated in the Orange Prize for Fiction with A Gate at the Stairs, told the Metro last year that shorter works are able to capture fleeting feelings and observations better than longer efforts.

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