I believe that quite recently a writer of some distinction wrote a piece for a major newspaper in which he stated his opinion that genre fiction can often be more successful in conveying deeper philosophical ideas than books classified as literary fiction. As this was something I wrote and spoke about whenever I got the opportunity I was naturally delighted. My contention was that the writer of the best crime fiction always had the reader in the forefront of their mind and told a well-plotted, fast-moving story which would hold the reader’s attention thus giving them the licence to have a sub-cutaneous layer of thoughts on whatever aspects of life they found particularly interesting which the reader would then feel free to heed or ignore as the spirit moved them. Whereas, too often, literary novelists wrote for themselves, ignoring the need to keep the reader on board, writing about whatever problems were obsessing them at the time. Incidentally although as I have said I applied these thoughts to crime novelists I do remember achieving, I think, just this balance, in what I suppose were my ‘literary novels’ including the one published after my death, A Kind of Light.
I must confess to feeling somewhat dispirited – no pun intended. A while back I used what I hoped was my new-found ability to communicate with those of you who were my friends and who still inhabit what is known as Earth. I asked you to try and send back to me any relevant comments so that I could decide if what I was saying was of any interest. It is true that I have, from time to time, experienced a waft, a whisper indeed, which seemed to carry a degree of warmth towards me but not one single word of comment has reached me.