Novellas, such as Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs, seem to be way more popular outside the U.S., and I don’t understand why.
What does a novella offer the casual reader?
- a concise story
- a quick read
- a small but memorable cast of characters.
Think of the novella, then as a short, three-act play.
But if you don’t want your reading spoon-fed, if you want literary merit to go along with entertainment value, what does a well-written novella offer?
- the depth of poetry
- deceptive complexity
- much for the reader to infer, i.e., offers the reader a place in the story.
The best novellas urge re-reading, peeling away the onion of meaning that lies before you, much as the best poetry begs you to read, and re-read, and re-read…