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An Editor Abroad

Lorin Stein gilt als Wunderkind des amerikanischen Literaturbetriebs. Als Cheflektor beim renommierten New Yorker Verlagshaus Farrar, Straus and

The White Hotel

As a fiction editor you are often asked, by agents or foreign publishers, what kind of novel you like. At first the question stymied me. Then I realized you can...

As a fiction editor you are often asked, by agents or foreign publishers, what kind of novel you like. At first the question stymied me. Then I realized you can answer in the negative: Science fiction wasn’t for me. Neither was historical fiction, or novels about cops. I didn’t like novels written from a child’s point of view. Or an autistic person’s, or an amnesiac’s. Or a Siamese twin’s. Or from the alternating points of view of identical twins.

I didn’t like novels with alternating points of view. I didn’t like novels with magicians in them or jugglers, or side shows. I didn’t like novels reminiscent of Tom Waites. I didn’t like novels that began with someone closing a car door. I didn’t like novels that began with an alarm clock. Or italics. I didn’t like coming-of-age novels. I didn’t like novels about the Spanish Civil War. I didn’t like novels set in towns that time forgot. I didn’t like novels set in a nameless city. I didn’t like novels in dialect. I didn’t like novels „in the tradition of.“ I didn’t like novels about ordinary people trying to do the right thing. I didn’t like novels involving Mr. Wrong. I didn’t like novels that revealed a little-known chapter. I didn’t like novels in which a buried secret. I didn’t like novels where someone inherits a house. Or a vinyard, etc. I didn’t like road novels. I didn’t like cowboy novels. I didn’t like post-apocalyptic novels. I didn’t like post-apocalyptic road novels, with cowboys or without. I didn’t like novels with recipes. I didn’t like novels in sections with section titles. I didn’t like novels with pictures. I didn’t like novels based on a true story. I didn’t like novels that were a meditation. I didn’t like sagas, fables, parodies, or satires. I didn’t like a modern-day Candide. I didn’t like novels with themes or printed in different colors. I didn’t like novels written in the present tense. I didn’t like novels where no one used computers. I didn’t like novels with acknowledgments to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I didn’t like novels of international intrigue. I didn’t like novels with wondrous breasts. I didn’t like novels with e-mails, TMs, or glossaries. I didn’t like novels with prepositional phrases, or adverbs. I didn’t like a novel in stories or fragments or vignettes. I didn’t like novels about the art world. I didn’t like epistolary novels or novels with Sigmund Freud or the Holocaust or dream sequences or the supernatural or chapters that were poems, except The White Hotel. I loved The White Hotel.