Too long, didn’t read: why the short novel is making a comeback

Last year, I deleted social media apps from my phone. All those five minutes here, 10 minutes there, were accumulating into too much time wasted faffing about online. I went back to carrying a book in my bag instead, which I hadn’t done in years. But the novels in my reading pile at the time — looking at you, Kate Atkinson and Paul Auster — were too heavy to lug around, so I put together a bag-friendly stash, mainly second-hand vintage Penguins such as Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford. Since then, I tend to have two books on the go at once. Shorties go out, tomes stay home.

hen the six Booker Prize finalists were announced in early September, many commentators noted that this year’s shortlist was aptly named: Claire Keegan’s remarkable Small Things Like These, clocking in at 116 pages, is the shortest book ever to be included. (Fellow shortlistee Treacle Walker by Alan Garner has more pages, yet an even lower word count.) Reviews and Booker commentary constantly referenced the brevity of Treacle Walker and Small Things Like These. So size does matter, but to whom? Publisher, reader, author — or all three? Too long, didn’t read: why the short novel is making a comeback

Fry Electronics Team

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