TASTING LATVIAN CONTEMPORARY BESTSELLER WRITING: TEXT AND LIFE REALITY
Published: 25 Sep 2018
Abstract: This study is revisiting the possibilities of defining a bestseller as an analytical category in literary research, and tracing global trends and those in the development of national literatures, the Latvian literary process in particular, in communication with the local community. The study focuses on a novel by Karīna Račko,“Ripped Lace” (Saplēstās mežģīnes) – a literary debut written and published in Latvian in 2017, which has been presented in public space as a sensation in the Latvian literature and as such has been staying on the Top 10 list of books published in Latvia for more than a year. The novel has been reprinted several times and termed a national bestseller. The origin, content, authorship and marketing strategy of the Latvian bestseller have been considered in relation to the phenomenon of E L James’ novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey” (2011), highlighting the importance of the factor of interaction between the contents of the Latvian text and the reader, as well as trends in the serious literature and current political discourse concerning the issue of sexual liberation. The text produced by Račko strongly resonates with both the mainstream of serious Latvian literature and the fresh focus on human sexuality in the socio-political discourse; however, it resonates on the principle of contrast. The study has used the approaches of ‘close reading’, ‘distant reading’ (Moretti), and ‘reading after theory’ (Cunningham) approaches.
Keywords: fiction, reading, sexuality, adolescence, opposite gender, pleasure
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