Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Is it better to burn out, or fade away?


Would you rather have one smash hit, or a long series of good—if not mind-blowing—little hits? Robert McCrum asks that very question in The Observer:

Original work is, by definition, exceptional. Often, it seems to come out of nowhere in a explosive flurry of excitement. Anglo-American and European literature is notable for its sprinters as well as its long-distance runners. There are so many brilliant one-offs, especially at the more popular end of the business: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, or Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, for example. Rosamond Lehmann had a long career, but most readers know her for The Weather in the Streets. Many lesser writers would happily settle to be remembered for just one title. An oeuvre may be too much to ask.

What would you prefer yourself? I guess my actual first choice would be a series of smash hits, but one can’t be greedy…

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