Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Modern Literature and the web of romance fiction – have you been bitten too?

 Without being rude or disrespectful towards anyone, I would like to make a statement. Contemporary romance that smells more of the body than abstract sucks pretty bad! If you are a passionate reader of novels, you will surely understand my concerns here. I am not targeting any particular author. I am telling what I feel after reading so many novels written by contemporary novelists in India and outside. Excessively repetitive, overly used themes are employed with very naive thinking that readers will fall for the characters and their absurd romantic mishaps... and a few do. And it is even more problematic to realise that more and more young authors are trying their hands in this genre because they idealise a few successful, clever and bestselling authors who have sold millions of copies of romance. Sans romance. Excessive romance. Whatever! Yes, you might see book review websites going gaga over newly published literature or a debut romance that stirred readers' into awe... I never pay heed to those because I know their ins and outs. 





Any author can write whatever he or she feels comfortable writing. However, unless the writing is for a few selected, private or dark-web audiences, publicly available books, literature or any form of art is legally, morally and logically given to the idea of justified criticism. Yes, I am totally against bullying someone for his or her art. And in the same spirit, I would like to ask a question to these authors, mostly one book wonders. Why did you write something so absurd that you had to stop writing? Why did you invest so much in one book that was destined to fail? Why did you not work on the manuscript and instead decided to spend heavy on promoting the shit that you have self-published and lost badly? All this, let me share, should lead to only one place – I wanted to become this or that author who could scale new heights with some shit book... shit copying shit and in between, offering shit to readers. Bad luck for us, readers. 


Though the romance genre, as it used to be earlier about heroics by a king, prince or protagonist who came from an unimaginative world altogether, has changed a lot over time. People must not remember how Spenser's protagonist used to slay dragons and Shakespeare's protagonists used to slay tigers and demons. Likewise, in Indian literature, kings and princes used to achieve feats of unimaginative awe in order to woo their queens and princesses. Today, as it stands, the romance genre has been contracted to a meagre issue of physical desires, hook-ups and one-night stands that seldom make any sense as the goals of today's youth – changing with the hours of the sun. And therefore, one thing that we can all apparently witness, is youths of the day like the romance of the day. It's not about literature a dime but it is all about demand and supply theory from the pages of an elementary economics book. If that is the case (which apparently is), people generally tend to dismiss such works of fiction as non-literary and not even literature in its raw form. Refer to the editorial spat in Times of India – Chetan Bhagat vs Shashi Deshpande. 


To cut the long strife short, I will submit with a thought. I don't think every work in the romance genre is bad or something you can dismiss as such. There are good works by good authors too. However, en masse, it's the usual and same repetition all the time. Some readers, mostly teenagers and younger readers, may like the same ball running to different holes all the time and repeating. However, critical readers, readers who have read the literature of class and fiction with sense, readers who have regard for language and aesthetic aspects of fiction will never be able to accept or appreciate such works with heart and mind involved. And I am telling these things irrespective of the language. The story is the same in Hindi Literature, English literature or any literature. 



Written by Sarthak for Book Reviews Web

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