In the Guardian G2 today is a long article on new names in fiction. In amongst it, is comment from book journalists and editors - Joel Rickett of the Bookseller is one and he says that literary fiction is the hardest category, as books tend to be one offs, and writers do not repeat themselves, unlike thriller writers for example.
This got me thinking. If this was really true, we would not have managed to establish a single writer from this house, since I really do find most thrillers so similar that I cannot be bothered to read them - let lone publish them. So, if Joel is right and I am wrong, then I have to re categorise our successes as a publishing house.
So here goes -
Hubert Selby Jr writes about poverty, lust, guns and self destruction - so he must be a sadistic thriller writer - a kind of hunt the morality instead of the killer book (although he does have characters kill people - quite satisfactorily sometimes - for example, using Coca Cola).
Hong Ying is definitely a historical romance writer - everyone knows that Julian Bell was a hunk. And The Concubine of Shanghai has a woman rise through the ranks using her beauty, seductive skill and of course, involvement with Triad gangs in 1930s Shanghai - perfect. Or maybe she isa Mills and Boon type romance writer. I'm in a dilemma here.
Elif Shafak - well, it is getting tricky now. Family saga does not really represent what happens in a multi occupied house in Istanbul (The Flea Palace). But it will do - and the dwarf and the large woman is The Gaze are also in a relationship so that makes is OK.
And what about Sadomasichism for Accountants by Rosy Barnes - maybe we will just have to invent a new genre - completely intoxicatingly funny but does not fit in any category novel.
One up to Joel.