ONLY NOVELS: EXPLORING A FICTIONAL MODE
David Booth and Stanley Skinner.
Volume 17 Number 3
The move to accept genre fiction as a legitimate part of the literature curriculum has generated a need for appropriate secondary sources. Only Novels introduces readers to twenty-one different genres of fiction, providing for each one a brief explanatory introduction, excerpts from several representative novels, and a set of related questions and suggested writing activities. The approach of Only Novels seems most suited to a classroom environment.The list of genres covered is extensive, although fantasy flction is noticeably absent and the distinction drawn between detective and mystery novels is arguable. The excerpts range from classic to popular - from George Eliot to Barbara Cartland - and Canadian novels are well represented. The text while presented in a very readable style, is marred by a lamentable number of typographical errors, such as a reference to Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marples. The usefulness of the author and title indexes is diminished by the omission of three names in the author index and the inconsistent approach to initial articles in the title index. Students of literature will flnd Only Novels a helpful but rudimentary introduction to genre fiction. The work's true value will be as an aid to teachers presenting genre fiction to classes, although educators should keep in mind that the reading of short excerpts, rather than of entire novels, represents an approach to literature that has decided limitations.
Louise Reimer, Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton, AB.
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