By James F. English
A Concise better half to modern British Fiction deals an authoritative evaluation of latest British fiction in its social, political, and financial contexts.
* specializes in the fiction that has emerged because the past due Seventies, approximately because the begin of the Thatcher era.
* includes unique essays from significant scholars.
* themes diversity from the increase and fall of the postcolonial novel to controversies over the fame author.
* The emphasis is mainly fiction scene, from bookstores and prizes to the altering economics of movie adaptation.
* permits scholars to learn modern works of British fiction with a miles clearer experience of the place they healthy inside of British cultural existence.
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Extra info for A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction (Concise Companions to Literature and Culture)
Put simply, in an extreme potential bestseller case (much more risky for a literary ﬁction publisher than for a genre ﬁction publisher) the publisher has to gamble with the company’s money, offering an advance (possibly, indeed these days increasingly probably, involving a two- or three-book contract) that may run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. The £500,000 threshold was notoriously set by Martin Amis for The Information and what became Heavy Water in 1994. Seven-ﬁgure two- or three-book title advances for literary ﬁction are now not unknown.
Today, such ﬂaps add 35% to the cost of the cover and, furthermore, slow down production by 10 days (Franklin, personal communication, April 30, 2004). Publishers, in other words, are being forced increasingly onto the back foot. They have means of ﬁghting back, as may already have become clear above. One survival strategy has been conglomeration. Thus a number of independent publishing houses have now been taken up by a conglomerate such as the Random House group, so that the actual number of independent literary ﬁction publishers housed in different premises, usually in the Bloomsbury area of London, has halved in the past 10 years.
These events have turned out to be the one item that deﬁnes the London Review Bookshop above all other such stores. They tap strongly into the “meet the author” culture, and are often 30 Literary Fiction and the Book Trade more confrontational, less genteel, in style than their chain-store counterparts, precisely because the store’s staff can be pretty certain what kind of reading public they are going to host. Andrew Stilwell suggested to me that to get an idea of what the store might be like without events, one could do worse than think of the old-style independent, unconglomerated Blackwell’s in Oxford’s Broad Street in (say) the 1970s (Stilwell, personal communication, May 13, 2004).