The Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase. This week's question is: must all literary writing be difficult?
Word Of Truth (also known as my answer):
Heck to the no, home skillet!
There are muchas cosas that people mean when they say "that book was hard." I offer my translation, based on tome/time period:
"I hate Austen! (S)He's so HHAARRDD." Ok, first of all, your mom. Second of all, what they really mean is: I'm not used to subtlety. I like my wordy bits to HIT ME LIKE A TON OF DAN BROWN, BITCHES."
"I hate Dickens! He's so HHAARDD." That's what she said. Also, translation: It's so long (see also: Tolstoy, Leo), and there are so many commas, and so much description. Where's the ACTION? WHERE'S THE LUDLUM?!
"Ugh, James Joyce/Virginia Woolf/William Faulkner/Proust. So hard." Translation: I'm not up to putting the effort into a non-linear narrative (or a book with no narrative at all). Screw you, stream of consciousness. SCREW YOU. I want Thing A Happened to Person 1, and Person 1 said This, and Married Person 2, and The End.
"Man, Hemingway is so hard." Translation: I'm a frickin' frackin' moron. I like my Meyer with a side of Sparks.
"Dude, DFW is hard. So is Franzen. And have you READ anything by Franzen? DI. FFI. CULT." Translation: I dunno, you may be right. I haven't read them. Because, you know. I hear they're hard.
Anyway, what I'm driving at here is that literary fiction doesn't need to be difficult, but "difficult" in and of itself is pretty subjective. I may breeze through Bronte with ease, while you may think all the wordy, gothic darkness is mind-numbingly hard for your brain-plow.
Of course, this really boils down to your definition of literary fiction to begin with. If you ask some people, they will probably say something like "hard, boring, pretentious." I will say that literary fiction involves thinking and effort, but that effort and hard are not synonyms, unless you're a lazy pud (which I can be QUITE frequently, as you know). And then there's content...I still haven't gotten through Kafka's The Trial because thinking about law and justice hurts my sensitive grey matter. Someone more interested in these topics wouldn't find the book difficult. Give me a provincial novel about living on the moor ANYDAY. Those are my JAM.
So. Does "literary" equal "no me likey ees too hard?" Why do so many people equate literary fiction with difficulty?