Tuesday, 27 March 2018

We're doomed


I read that there are novels branded as “up lit” by publishers. Upbeat novels of kindness and compassion are making their mark on bestseller lists. I hadn’t heard of them until today, but it seems they have been around for around two years or so.

Novels filled with tenderness, companionship and nostalgia are said by some to be nothing more than wish fulfilment: reading of the society people wish we had rather than the devastation, cruelty and hardship of the world we do have. Comfort reading in other words; possibly a match for comfort eating which may be a cause of so much obesity these days.

“Up lit” is maybe a way of trying to fix what is broken in our fragmenting society. When everything is dark readers have often turned to fiction as an escape. Once escapist fiction was crime, romance and science fiction; now it seems to be novels of kindness that infiltrate the bestseller lists because they offer hope. Maybe the "do-gooders" of the world hope some of the goodness will rub off on society in general, but I doubt it. Society in general doesn't read, it watches film and tv and the internet. What does it get there? Violence, much of it mindless, diversive interviews as channels vie for ratings and often, viciousness in social media.

 "We're doomed, laddie," as the character in Dad's Army used to cry.

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