Saturday, March 15, 2008

But is it a "novel"?

I just read the obituary of a writer, and it mentions his first "fiction novel." I've seen this redundant construction multiple times lately, implying that a novel can be something other than fiction. The American Heritage Dictionary, as good a source as any, defines "novel" as "a fictional prose narrative of considerable length" and that's the definition I've always understood to be the prevailing one.

On the other hand, a number of memoirs have recently been revealed as fiction, thus splitting that genre into "non-fiction memoir" and "fiction memoir."

Except that there's already a word for a "fiction memoir."

It's called a novel.

1 comment:

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Yep. Reminds me when folks use to come in the bookstore and ask for "true crime fiction."

I kid you not.