"School of" writing

Paintings are often classified as "school of [great painter/city/era]", and the same applies to books. Yes, we have genre classifications, but within the genre is -- sometimes -- a school. The most popular today seems to be "School of Da Vinci Code", despite several of the books being written prior to DVC's publication.

Last night I read The Minotaur, which was "School of Jane Eyre". It even paid hommage to its mother, and older stepsister Rebecca: "Unlike Thornfield, unlike Manderley, those mansions of fiction, most of the house survived the fire." Now, I don't mind the obvious parallels in plot - or the deviations from the theme - but this? Please. Don't insult your readers with the "mansions of fiction" crap.

A better book, this time "School of The Other" (or something like that) was The Thirteenth Tale. That's not to say it was great, and the creepy factor is certainly greater in Minotaur, but I liked it more.

Off to see what's next on Mt. Bookpile.


Sherri said...

That was just the TEEEENIEST bit pretentious, there. I don't mind when a writer, covertly or overtly, "borrows" a story or a style from another well known book. Heck, I've many a "revamped" version of this or that which I have enjoyed greatly. However, I usually prefer to figure out the homage for myself. Makes me feel all cleveh, donchaknow?

And I am completely avoiding all things Da Vinci Code-ish. My one run at Dan Brown was unsatisfying and was tossed onto the "Nope" pile after the 4th chapter.

camillofan said...

The burning mansions quote reminds me of one the newest entries on my pet peeve list: the "if this were a novel" line of dialogue.

For instance, a "stumped" literary detective might opine, "If this were a novel, the guilty party would have confessed by now and all the loose ends would be tied up by dinner." Or an earnest lover in a Mills & Boon opus might declare, "If this were a cheap romance, I'd know exactly what to say to convince you that I'm serious." Etc., etc.

Talk about interfering with the 4th wall...