If It Is Not A Novel It Is Confusing

From Victoria Adams’ 2011 PhD thesis comes an assessment that still rings true 10 years later:

” … As Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg have pointed out, ‘our view of narrative literature is almost hopelessly novel-centred. The expectations which readers bring to narrative literary works are based on their experience with the novel. Their assumptions about what a narrative should be are derived from their understanding of the novel.’ A book of fictional prose which doesn’t contain a clear signifier of uncommon intent in the form of the title, subtitle or blurb is predisposed to be approached with the expectation that the reader will enjoy the kind of immersive reading experience typical of the novel. Narratives which differ from this experience without allowing the reader due warning in the form of paratextual signposts are therefore likely to be deemed unsatisfactory, unstructured and confusing.”

– Victoria Adams, “”Doing it by the book: the uses of paratext in creating expectation and determining structural genre in contemporary British fiction”

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