Emotional fiction with moral heft

From a recent New York Times piece on writer George Saunders, I took a few notes. I found it fascinating what he says about fiction and the idea of ’emotional fiction’ especially.

The thing on the table was emotional fiction. How do we [Franzen, DFW and Ben Marcus] make it? How do we get there? Is there something yet to be discovered? There were about the possibility of contrasting desire to (1) write stories that had some sort of moral heft while (2) not being cheesy or sentimental or reactionary.

That’s the thing. How do you touch people, break their hearts but still have them love your writing and want to read more? How do you avoid the lashings of cheese?

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