Thursday, February 28, 2013

Crying Over Crime Fiction

The smart folks at The Millions have a nice piece about John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.
I began to feel uncomfortable about my relationship with this book. It’s a sad book, to be sure, about two teenagers who meet in a support group for kids with cancer, but it’s also joyful, hopeful, wise, funny, romantic, and genuinely inspirational. So why, in my efforts to share this joy and hope with other people, did I keep saying, go be unspeakably sad for as long as it takes you to read a 300-page book?
Does crime fiction do that to you? Do you connect with the characters in that way?

Or do you mostly just wince when the beatings start?

Of course, we have the policey-thriller that masquerades as crime fiction -- the little girl walking along with her mommy, snatched and beaten. Maybe we get close-ups of the grieving parents.

But what is the last piece of crime fiction you read that sent you through sadness and joy and romance and all the crap like that?


David Cranmer said...

Ross Macdonald, Steve. The emotional bond he builds still packs a punch for me. Though I wouldn't say romance is in the mix.

Dana King said...

Adrian McKinty's THE COLD COLD GROUND. I've never read a book that put you in its setting with the characters any better.

As for whether crime fiction does that to me in general, well, as usual, it depends. A key choice every author makes is who do you most want the reader to empathize with. Then the trick is how good the author is at pulling it off.

Steve Weddle said...


OK. Read the Mc/Mac guys. Got it.

Al Tucher said...

It's stretching the point to call CODE NAME VERITY, the YA novel by Elizabeth Wein, a crime novel, but I take every opportunity to talk up this book. I was a puddle on the floor when I finished it.

I wrote to the author and asked if I could be an honorary young adult at the age of 59, and she graciously replied that I could.