Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
In July I did a brief post about the future of the novel, provoked by a quote I’d run across by novelist Craig Nova. Mr. Nova has recently chimed in himself with an unexpected comment to the post!
If you’re not familiar with his work, Nova’s writing (according to his Wiki page) “has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Men’s Journal, among others. His short story, ‘The Prince,’ won an O. Henry Award. His first novel, Turkey Hash, won the prestigious Harper-Saxton Award. Nova received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997.”
In the post, I bitched a little about how the culture seems to have relegated the novel to entertainment status, whereas Nova still maintains that “[the novel] will not only survive, but thrive. It will become the method by which we judge our morality.”
In his new comment, Nova concludes: “So, I guess, where there is impassioned truth and hard hitting defiance, there is hope, too. It just seems dark, and probably is, but that doesn’t mean it is going to be that way forever. Ask anyone who has been through a tough time, and they will tell you, as I am sure you know, that in the middle it seemed endless.”
This is a message I need to hear from time to time. Weekly would be good. It’s important to remember that the novel has been through the wars and has survived. It has changed, certainly. It’s come a long way (thank God) since Pamela. And it will continue to evolve. Those of us who invest ourselves in its progress are part of the evolution and ought to be damned proud of that. I think we grasp it even if we’re not always entirely aware of it.
Do yourself a favor and look into the work of Craig Nova. I’m reading his classic The Good Son right now. His latest is a follow-up to that book, All The Dead Yale Men (Counterpoint, June 2013). Read my original post, Nova’s comment, and my reply here.
Also revisit the important novel by Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier. It’s about a hundred years old now, but its influence is still being felt.