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dirty realist fiction

Granta

american britain term

A term used in Britain to describe the urbane minimalist fiction of a small group of American writers, notably Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and Tobias Wolff. Highly articulate and sophisticated in style, ‘dirty realist’ fiction eschewed slick metropolitanism in favour of the grimmer realities of small-town American life. It featured elliptical dialogue, seedy settings, with uncompromising descriptions of violence, sordid sex, and the dreary hopelessness of its downbeat characters. The expression became fashionable in Britain during the late 1980s following its inception in 1987 when Bill Buford, editor of Granta, first used the term in an edition devoted to contemporary American fiction.

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