Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

>not a trashy novel

Tracy told me apologetically that she read my first book, and she could hardly put it down. She said she didn’t usually read trashy novels.

I beg your pardon.

Well, in the first place, you never have to apologize to a writer for not being able to put her book down………….but is she right? Is my book a trashy novel? When people ask about it, I say it’s a story about character and place. It’s about families and about what people want or think they want. It’s about bigotry and small towns, about desire and love and figuring out what matters, it’s about what happens to someone whose desires are at odds with her own self interest, someone whose most authentic act is infidelity.

(My mother, bless her heart, tells people that my publisher made me put the sex in there, so the book would sell.)

I sit on the porch in the hot sun and, instead of feeling closed off, my skin feels like it’s an open thing. Like in the night somebody peeled it back so all the nerves inside me are laid open on the skin. I sit like that for I don’t know how long. It’s like I’m somebody who has no mind anymore to notice the passing of time. It’s like all of who I am has got pressed into the body I’ve got and I’m alive like an animal is alive with just its skin and its legs and its face.

Categories: books, writing

2 replies

  1. >What makes a novel trashy?If the answer is sex, then Updike, De Lillo, Roth and their lauded, respected ilk are all writing trashy novels.To me, a trashy novel has no nutritional value, no sustenance. Maybe it’s fun, maybe it isn’t, but it’s basically in one eye and out the other. (The most famous trash-mongress I can think of is Janet Evanovich.) Like junk food, trashy novels will always sell.But your novels have too much content to qualify as trashy.

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