I talked with my agent today about — among other things — the difference between literary fiction and a thriller. She argued that the definition of literary fiction was slow, hundred-page character development. Which I find interesting.
You wait for the characters to define themselves — and then the plot begins working.
This is very different from the thriller-model. And it seems to speak directly towards my argument about the first 100 pages of Englander’s book. They’re supposed to be gradual. They’re supposed to accumulate.
But — for me — my attention span has been shattered by the various aspects of modern life. So: I am too nervous to sit down for more than thirty minutes at a time. I start to panic; I am a bit like a shark. I need quick movement. Immediate, visceral gratification — at least by page 20.
Am I a minority?