Monday, May 2, 2011

Musing Mondays: Do you care about realism?

This week’s musing asks…
Do you care if the book’s storyline is unrealistic? Will you keep reading, or will you set the book aside?
 Depends on what we're talking about. If it's fantasy or magical realism, or just completely outlandish, no, I don't care. If it's historical fiction, I think it should be grounded in historical reality- in other words, get the known facts right and invent what history leaves out. I'm not a fan of alternative histories or books that re-write history but I like historical fiction when the author can create a richly imagined world that works within the framework of what's known about a period or a person. Having said that though, I'm often bored by books that fictionalize real people even if the books aren't bad. Loving Frank was one that, while I enjoyed it, I had to keep reminding myself that it was fiction even though it was fiction about a real person. I think I'd rather authors just create a fictional character based on a real person rather than inventing things about real people. If I'm confusing you it's because I get confused!

More Musing Mondays at ShouldbeReading.wordpress.com.

11 comments:

bibliophiliac said...

I thought this question was a bit confusing too. Unrealistic as in, how does that character afford the glam apartment and clothes on her salary? Or unrealistic as in the character has some amazing superpowers that do make sense in the world of the story? I guess if the writer can create a satisfyingly believable world then she can be as *unrealistic* as she pleases. And I agree with you that fictional characters based on real people are tough to do well--Annie Dillard says not to even try....

"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

I am confuzzled but I usually am...;-)

Marce said...

Immediately I thought of the thriller Still Missing, I thought the author Chevy Stevens definitely pushed the envelope which made me not appreciate and enjoy it.

At times for me it would interrupt my appreciation. I also think this is a reason I do not enjoy the Dystopian genre.

pussreboots said...

I want realism that is appropriate to the book. If the author wants to write a completely off the wall farce with little grounding in reality, just tell me up front and make it funny. If however you promise me complete and utter realism and you mess up some basic facts I will call out those errors when it comes to review time.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I don't like books that fictionalize real people because I always want to know what is true and what isn't, and also I think more people end up believing the fictionalized account. So I tend to avoid Gore Vidal and E.L. Doctorow for that reason, even though I've liked what I've read of theirs very much!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm right there with you. If it is meant to be wacky and out there, I can roll with it. But in a crime thriller for example, it had better make sense.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Fiction is as the name implies. However, I hate it when fiction is used as a tool to intentionally tell 'lies'. When it is manipulated to misinform. Perhaps its all about distorting history. For instance, I won't read any story that says Slavery never existed and racism, and the holocaust and apartheid etc. Because we are what we read I would love to read fiction based in fiction and not distorted facts.

Zibilee said...

I agree with you, Marie. If it's meant to be magical realism or alternate history, I am comfortable with letting things slide, but anything having to do with historical fiction or real people needs to be as close to real as it comes for me to enjoy it. It depends on the book, but sometime realism matters.

Darlene said...

I agree with you as well Marie. If it's meant to be a novel that you're supposed to let go of reality, then I'm all for it. Otherwise I like to hope an author has taken the time to get the facts straight.

Rayna Eliana said...

NO, normally I don't care if the realism is over exaggerated.

bookmagic said...

It depends on the book and how it is written. Sometimes something a little unreal will bother me, sometimes not.