Tag Archive | NPR

Why does Isabel Allende need to apologize for observations on contemporary mystery fiction?

Here is her statement quoted on NPR’s site.

“The book is tongue in cheek. It’s very ironic … and I’m not a fan of mysteries, so to prepare for this experience of writing a mystery I started reading the most successful ones in the market in 2012. … And I realized I cannot write that kind of book. It’s too gruesome, too violent, too dark; there’s no redemption there. And the characters are just awful. Bad people. Very entertaining, but really bad people. So I thought, I will take the genre, write a mystery that is faithful to the formula and to what the readers expect, but it is a joke. My sleuth will not be this handsome detective or journalist or policeman or whatever. It will be a young, 16-year-old nerd. My female protagonist will not be this promiscuous, beautiful, dark-haired, thin lady. It will be a plump, blond, healer, and so forth.”

(The article is called Author Isabel Allende Apologizes For Comments About Mystery Novels, by Krishnadev Calamur.)



Isabel Allende has a right to an opinion. Why is she apologizing for these statements? They seem to be more observation than insult, no? If you can’t even make a little comment on personal taste, then how can we have any conversation? How can we know what honestly motivates writers and why they do what they do? Isn’t that important and interesting? Is it better to tread on eggshells for fear that an honest statement of opinion (not even an insult) might hurt the way people think of you and your books?

Negative is not the same as insulting.

How do you feel? Should Allende apologize for the expression of her opinions? Should readers allow writers to have opinions, too?