Reading the section of the latest N+1 devoted to the state of writing in America today, I found myself, once again, encountering the same constellation of names (Eggers, Wallace, Moore, Oates, Updike, Krauss, Foer, Franzen, Roth and several others), that one is obliged to have to consider whenever reading someone's appraisal of what matters in contemporary fiction (if we open it up to Canada and the UK then you've got to, of course, have Munro, Z. Smith, etc.). Fine, you say, the discussion is clearly about mainstream fiction, and those (plus those several others) are the names that must be checked or alluded to if one is to make some dreary fucking point about how it's all going. And I say, surely, even in the mainstream, there are some others... no?
This happens, of course, when one discusses slant fiction too -- it's just that one doesn't, all that much (though there are some exceptions, like Now What), and certainly not much at all in large, wide-circulation fora.
Not such a big deal, really, but it is tedious, after a time. Reading the articles, which were generally pretty interesting, and made some useful points, I kept being reminded of a journalist talking about running around LA with Sesshu Foster (Atomik Aztek), who asked, rhetorically, as they whizzed past the dreadful, even horrible banality of some section of LA, "Is this all there is???"