For many novelists, the genre of their work matters a great deal. Even if there’s an element of fantasy in their work, they dread that it be labeled as something less than their ideal, as you can see from a New York Times interview with the acclaimed British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (“The Remains of the Day”), concerning his new novel, “The Buried Giant.”
He asks the Times reporter Alexandra Alter, “Will readers follow me into this? Will they understand what I’m trying to do, or will they be prejudiced against the surface elements? Are they going to say this is fantasy?”
A fantasy novel from a serious novelist! Oh, no. It shouldn’t matter for a writer as acclaimed as Ishiguro. But it does. Even though so-called literary novelists as celebrated as David Mitchell have explored fantasy in their work (such as Mitchell’s latest, “The Bone Clocks”), critics of literary fiction tend to look down on fantasy as a serious art form, despite the literary success of J.R.R. Tolkien or George R. R. Martin.