I'm starting this thread after a kindly moderator's reminder that my side-rant on a different thread was veering off topic. I had responded to another poster's assertion that (paraphrase here) she finds novels, such as The Girl on the Train, "excellent." This prompted a shocked mini-tantrum in me.

I wanted to continue the conversation here. See, I find The Girl on the Train trite, poorly wrought, and narrated by an MC who is not so much "well developed" as of a structure reliant upon cliche. And all of those things infuriate me. I just hated the novel, and I agree that, as other posters (and real life friends) noted, publishers are doing The Girl on the Train a real disservice in their insistence upon bleating its status as "the next Gone Girl." Because Gone Girl WAS well-written, and its characters were complex and well-explored in an unexpectedly powerful way.

But, as I like to ask my students when I'm feeling sassy, what IS "good literature"? Do poor writing, lack of originality, and/or poorly wrought characters make the literature "bad"? What if such a novel incites a vast readership, people who would not otherwise pick up a novel at all? What if the "bad" literature's sheer volume of fans makes an important cultural statement about the contemporary world/state of literature?

But, dammit, I just hate The Girl on the Train, so I'm also thrilled to debate with anyone who believes that tome stands alone as a finely executed work of art.