James Tata reconsiders that particular strata known as the mid-career (b. 1960 or thereabouts) Great American Novelist. It is, of course, most regrettable that Age should matter, but with so many GANs dropping off of late (Vonnegut, Mailer, et al.), one wonders who will be taught in tomorrow’s classrooms. The current crop identified by Mr. Tata do in part fall into a certain rubric of, as he suggests, “nothing more than comic book characters and escapist fantasy,” which suggests a new concern for the next hopeful pantheon. But this “hopeful” qualifier presumes that these writers care about being listed in syllabi, much less proscribing their concerns for what is Important Literature by writing Serious Novels. So I put forth the question to the peanut gallery: Who, born between the years of 1960 and 1970, has a shot at being tomorrow’s Great American Novelist? Is the list that Tata offers the True List? Or is it too early to tell? Has literature become something too specialized to make such a judgment call? (I respond “yes” to the last rhetorical question, but I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing.)
© 2007, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.