The World After Garp

The Death of the Popular Novel and Its Replacement by “Prestige Television”

Image by Sibel Yıldırım.

On April 20, The Irish Times asked, “Where has the rock star male novelist gone?”  Finn McRedmond begins her column with the assertion that, “It is hardly a surprise that men buy fewer novels than women, and far fewer novels than they used to.” Is it? She does make it clear that reading is down across the board, but her diagnosis of “literary men” is suspect: “Men are not just uninterested in literary ambition, owing to the fact it reaps fewer and fewer rewards. They are actively turned off by it. Here’s the thing: a man with an eye for preserving his reputation is inherently more cautious these days. Novel writing, as we know, is a fraught process: an immensely difficult and impecunious pursuit. In a post #MeToo world, it comes with huge scope for reputational damage.”

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Nicky Otis Smith is a filmmaker and writer. He was born and raised in New York City and has lived in Baltimore since 2003.

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