As a “born again” reader of literary fiction (though it has to be said my reading list is stuffed with learned texts at the moment) I find this interesting. Outlets for fictional writing, not just books / novels, but literary journals too, are reporting that the market is dominated by “factual” work these days. Two observations – even the factual stuff has a bias to the long-form narrative they say, and given that it is indeed advertised as non-fiction, I hope it’s obvious that doesn’t make it factual in any sense of “truth” whatever its rhetorical qualities. The bummer with rhetorical quality is distinguishing between reasonable truths and speculative, conspiracy-theory, pseudo-scientific, life-style mumbo jumbo. Being market driven, as the article points out, this kind of narrative apparent non-fiction can appeal most easily to what people want to hear, rather than stuff that makes them personally uncomfortable. At least with fiction you know where you stand – if it appeals as an essentially true natural history, it’s probably because of some more intrinsic, aesthetic, instinctual qualities, rather than an explicit logic or reasoning.
Quality beats skin-deep “truth”.