A novel can withstand an array of flaws. A novella can likely only handle one.

27 Oct 2011 in international | questo post è lungo 312 parole

Short Fiction Week

_Richard Nash

Richard Nash is an independent publishing entrepreneur, presently launching Cursor, a start-up portfolio of social publishing imprints the first of which, Red Lemonade, was launched in Spring 2011.

 | Twitter: @R_Nash


Novels can have pauses, faults: a long story wins by points. A novelette, as Julio Cortazar wrote, needs to win by knock-out. Do you agree?

Well let's flip it around. A novel can withstand an array of flaws, in fact, it may even need them. A novella can likely only handle one. A single deep flaw, a dark fold, a cyst.

Is there a literary bias against the short form of fiction?

I can't tell. I used to think certainly there was a commercial bias, in literary fiction, even if genre, especially SF and horror were quite comfortable. But now I think no, the form is fixed, the culture ebbs and flows around the form, like a coastline. So there's no fixed bias against short fiction any more than there is a fixed bias against fjords. But there will be fashions, for and against. There will always be fashion.

Plot, setting, ideas. What are in your opinion the perfect ingredients of a novelette/novella?

I rather like the sweeping novella. Yes, sure the classic one is singular but I like to feel the wind in my hair.

Would you suggest 3 must-read novelettes/novellas?

Bruce Chatwin's Utz.
James Joyce The Dead. (a true novelette...)
Muriel Spark The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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