Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Books: So Sure of Death, by Dana Stabenow
I like them all. (Though I prefer Kate.) I like them so much that they turn my mind to the whole "genre fiction"/"literary fiction" conflict. I assume that Dana Stabenow's mysteries are genre fiction, and that I'm therefore supposed to blush a little bit about reading them, and claim that I only take them to the beach. I'm supposed to see genre fiction as the Cheetos of literature, right? Overflavored, oversalted, and with orange powdery stuff that will stay with me and rub off on thoughts generated by finer literature.
Now, there are some genre fiction novels that I do see as the equivalent of...well, not Cheetos, actually; I find Cheetos to be a very fine experience of their type. Maybe the equivalent of those dubious generic imitations of Hostess snack cakes. Vaguely pleasing, nominally fulfilling expectations, but with a disappointing aftertaste that makes you want to go eat something else. (Like a Cheeto.) Vaguely likable people in those stories have cute thoughts about cats or dogs or recipes or home improvement or real estate or expensive shoes, and meanwhile somebody gets murdered. (Oh. Yes. While I'm generalizing my thoughts to fiction in general, the "genre" that I'm talking about here is murder mysteries. We've met, right?)
But Dana Stabenow's mysteries have those moments that make you say, for example, "Oh, my God, he said that to Kate?! He's doomed. Just doomed. Huh? Don't interrupt me, I'm reading!"
And to me, a book that gets you bug-eyed and gawpish about a character, based purely on the character rather than on exploding helicopters or stashes of drugs, can look literary fiction in the face and say, "Feh."
Um. I guess that's about all. I suppose I should really say six or eight words about the actual books, huh? They're set in Alaska, modern day. There's a lot of crime and politics and a moderate amount of sex. Often there's food. There's a wolf. But only half. Read 'em. They're fun.
That is all.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.