Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blank Fiction

Blank fiction in itself represents the 1980s. While the shallow, materialistic attitudes of the era are apparent in films and music of the time, we see it in a whole different way through the literature of the time. The term blank fiction refers to the writing of a generation of contemporary American writers who through their use of language started a whole new genre of fiction. It was also a significant drift away from the dense plots and political subjects that literature had been obsessed with during the post-war era.
Using “flat, affectless, atonal prose and non committed narrative voices” to portray and handle this urban life filled with sex, drugs, violence, and consumerism, blank fiction writers say a lot without saying a lot. For example, Less Than Zero is a rather disjoined novel. For the most part it does not have a steady flow; it seems to skip from one thing to another without much happening. I think the structure of the book is significant to look at because it helps you get into the mindset of the character. A youngish boy, on drugs, who comes home to a different world to the one he left. The structure can relate to Clay’s relationships with the other characters, which all seem to be disjointed and unstructured like his relationship with Blair, who doesn’t seem to know where exactly she stands, and in ways neither does he.

A website I found contained a large amount of references regarding blank fiction. Most important on the list, is Elizabeth Young and Graham Cavaney’s 1992 study, “Shopping in Space – Essays on American ‘Blank Generation’ fiction.” The essays shed a positive light on blank fiction, which to some is considered to be a rather pointless literary form due to its lack of substance.;col1

This link has a brief review on the study, and praises it for its different outlook from the time of blank fiction.

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