Here’s a great blog post from FWR favorite Aryn Kyle, on writing “happy literature”:
“You should write something happy,” people tell me, and I don’t understand. Happy like Anna Karenina? Happy like The Grapes of Wrath? Happy like Lolita or Catch-22 or Revolutionary Road? Happy like Hamlet?
What, I’d like to ask people, are these “happy books” you speak of, and who is writing them? I was an English Literature major, for sobbing out loud! I’ve never read a happy book in my whole life! Unless you count Jane Austen, who could usually be depended on to wrap things up with a wedding. But Jane’s been dead a good long while. She didn’t have to watch the oceans fill with oil and garbage, didn’t have to see her country turn its back on the education of its children in favor of marching off to steal someone else’s gasoline, didn’t have to watch that video of the lone polar bear paddling through an iceless arctic sea to a distant but most certain death.
Read the full essay on Kyle’s website, and for thoughts on the beauty in The God of Animals, the “unhappy” novel Kyle discusses, see FWR’s review.