In a pretty shallow essay over at Slate, Stephen Metcalf writes one sentence that pissed me off at first. Now I'm not sure if I should be pissed off, but I can't shake the feeling. In discussing Donald Antrim's memoir The Afterlife, Metcalf writes, "If Antrim's book is predictable--and it is, taking us through all the standard cliches, including an episode of sexual abuse--what accounts for its strange power?"
Now, if you include sexual abuse in a novel, it can be a narrative cliche. But in a memoir? A tragic event from someone's life is now a cliche? What the fuck?
(Sorry, by the way, for the lack of accents in "cliche" throughout the post. I can't figure out how to add them.)