The Paris Review

Going All the Way: Curtis Sittenfeld and the Art of the Unambiguous


The definition of what qualifies as “chick lit” (an unpleasant term, besides which, I’ve personally always thought if you were going to coin a sexist word for women’s books, chicktion has more pizzazz, but I digress) is, in its purest form, a stupid tautology. A book is marketed as chick lit if it broadly appeals to women; books broadly appeal to women if they’re marketed as chick lit. Of course, this definition doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny. For one thing, the category of “fiction that appeals more to women than men” is, as we know, “fiction.” Accordingly, most books are marketed toward women. The Corrections was infamously, and briefly, featured in Oprah’s book club and marketed as a family drama, which it is. In this sense, all fiction—and this has been roughly true since the early nineteenth century, when the burgeoningly popular, still somewhat novel novel form, was declaimed as a woman’s art—is chick lit.

What, then, are the real criteria for membership in this dubious category? Is it books written by women or books that have female leads? Books about the domestic

Você está lendo uma amostra, registre-se para ler mais.

Mais de The Paris Review

The Paris ReviewLeitura de 9 mins
What’s The Use Of Beauty?
Édouard Manet. Woman Reading, 1880 or 1881. The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection. The halo effect is a type of cognitive bias in which your initial superficial assessment of a person influences your perce
The Paris ReviewLeitura de 7 mins
I Am the Mother of This Eggshell
Sabrina Orah Mark’s monthly column, Happily, focuses on fairy tales and motherhood. When my grandfather was dying, he pointed into the gray hospital air and said, “Buildings.” “Drawn in light pencil,” he said. “All around me.” “Are they yours?” I as
The Paris ReviewLeitura de 11 mins
Virginia Woolf’s Pivotal Sophomore Novel
Illustration by Kristen Radtke. Beware, sweet Night and Day reader, of being seduced by the name of Virginia Woolf on the spine of this novel into believing you are about to read a work of high Modernism, a sister to the author’s towering To the Ligh