Written in response to:
The bunyip version of the ‘international’ style that Emmett Stinson writes of became very recognisable to me as a publisher of Australian literary fiction in the 1990s. Gestural, smooth, economical, all the requisite ‘gaps for the reader’ in place. It’s still around, and makes for an inconsequential and decontextualised literature.
I agree wholeheartedly with these comments about the safety of the so-called ‘international’ style, though I think its success is as much due to the economics of publishing and the marketing power of certain publishers as to cultural cringe. And I would argue that Murnane is under-recognised in Australia, at least by the wider reading public, if not by critics. The problem with so much commercial publishing is that it does so little to create markets for new kinds of writing, instead assuming conservatism in readers and making a self-fulfilling prophesy.