Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Who hates angst?

Modern readers shy away from angst, methinks. *sigh* But when done correctly, angst can be one of my most favorite things to read!

Some of my more recent favorites: Jhumpa Lairi, Toni Morrison, and Khaled Housseini. However most scholars would not call these writers "angst." There's a difference between describing a cultural/racial/feminist disadvantage and whining about the mundane (which "angst" tends to be) Traditional angst: Sylvia Plath, Tennessee Williams, J. D. Salinger, etc. 

I guess angst appeals to me because the crux of it centers around the "outsider looking in" idea. And as a black queer female, I'm drawn to that! 

Angst-ridden stories are more "real" to me. Perhaps, because they speak closer to my life experiences. Life is not a picnic. Shit happens. And I prefer reading about the grit and the sweat than the crap where everyone gets a cookie at the end. The human condition is ugly. People are ugly. You can run away from these unpleasant realities or you can try to clean it up. Naturally, I attempt to clean "the shit" by writing about it. 

There's REAL angst (Khaled Housseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns" or Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart") and then there's "lite angst" (F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" etc.) However who's to say one person's life-experience is more angsty/socially relevant than another's? But it would be nice to read more angst that does not involve privileged teenagers and or their suburbanite parents. I'm just sayin.' do we really need another version of American Beauty? 



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