Wynn’s defence is based on the view that readers in America expect their fiction to ‘always teach an uplifting little lesson reinforcing “the American myth”. For those people the only acceptable stance for writers is to reinforce the aesthetics of sweetness and light; to reinforce current notions of morality, provide us with protégés with whom we can identify, and always foster the delusion of the inevitable triumph of good over evil.’ He believes, as I do, that fiction should be more than a means to reinforce a conventional uncritical view of the world.
However, in defence of Jim Bade, I’ll say that I am grateful for any review that is an honest and intelligent account of my fiction however much I disagree with it.
And I shall also add that I don’t believe that America has a monopoly of the view that fiction should always be fluffy and affirmative. A great deal of American fiction, as also film, theatre and television, has a much more interesting view of the world than that, but just as in the UK and every other country I know at all well, the predominant fiction celebrates only a narrow set of values and is expected to be ultimately life-affirming and perhaps somewhat bland.