Popular fiction written by men experiences none of the contempt directed at Sophie Kinsella. Why must its pleasures be 'guilty'?
To use the formulation beloved of "chick lit" heroine Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't help but wonder how much of this sort of fiction Aitkenhead has actually read. She describes both Jane Eyre and Allison Pearson's Kate Reddy as "klutzy"; neither is anything of the sort. Jane Eyre is a quiet, good, sensible woman struggling with a very passionate love. Kate Reddy is a highly intelligent, highly organised woman struggling with the demands of working parenthood. Some of Sophie Kinsella's heroines do indeed have silly and ditzy aspects (though some of them also do not) but that's no surprise: she is writing comic fiction, and brilliant comic fiction at that. Why her books are so successful is no mystery – it is because she is one of the very best writers of this type and millions of women and possibly even (gasp) a few men have recognised that fact, and buy her books. Aitkenhead is correct that much in this genre is written by educated women, and this is because most books are written by educated people. Educated people, for obvious reasons, tend to write more confidently and therefore produce better books. The bigger question is: why is so much energy expended on patronising this particular area of the market?
Full story at The Guardian.