BOOKS: FINE TUNED

HIGH FIDELITY IS A TOUCHING NOVEL OF MUSIC AND LOVE

If there is a single grating habit that has afflicted young writers of the past decade, it is a tendency to define characters not necessarily by their histories or heartaches or small triumphs but, more economically, as a sum of their pop-cultural tastes. Want to show that someone is vacuous? Put him in Gucci loafers. Want to convey sophistication? Mention a character's love of Godard. Want to suggest that a person has developed unrealistic notions of familial closeness? Have her reminisce about watching The Brady Bunch.

The Pulitzer Prize for referencing goes to Bret Easton Ellis, whose famously lazy prose has...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!