The Observer has a piece on Margo Lanagan‘s new novel, Tender Morsels, which is outraged at sexual scenes in the book. Lanagan is a writer who demands the reader pays attention and is fiercely “in your face” and up fornt about the themes in her books.
At one level, I think this is the chattering classes trying to be outraged – “how dare my baby be exposed to the real world!”. Its an extension of the ‘Disneyfication’ of fairy tales. Any sense of danger in them is well and truly removed. We must remove the thoughts of any potential risks.
This goes echoes some of the thoughts that were bandied about in the Diana Wynne Jones conference that was held at Bristol over the weekend. She, and Lanagan, write fiction for smart children. The same children who will read it will ” use their common sense and stop reading, exactly as they should for their own comfort” (Among Amid While, Lanagan’s blog).Fairy tales, at one level, are social commentaries and whilst I find Lanagan’s writing visceral and fierce, she is not an irreponsible writer, shocking for shock’s sake.
The Observer’s piece is overwrought and overwritten and is playing to gallery rather than thinking the issue through. Sigh.