Grunge Literature, What quality in a novel is it which prompts it to be labelled as 'grunge literature'? And why do so many authors of books which fall into this genre object so strenuously to the la

Essay by GavenA+, April 1997

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Grunge is the literature and fiction of young people living in inner cities around the world, it is not a new genre as publishers would have us believe, but traces its roots back through the history of the novel. There is one common thread which runs throughout all grunge novels, and that is the parody of modern western society and the values which it endorses.

Justine Ettler, 'Sydney's Empress of Grunge', is the author of Marilyn's Almost Terminal New York Adventure and The River Ophelia, which gave her the 'empress' title. Ettler is part of the Australian 'brat pack' of Dirty Realists, the grunge writers who reproduce the urban underside of life with every thrust of a fuck, every snort of a drug and every pocket of grime that coats our cities. They're young, articulate, and write novels that bluntly reflect the nihilism of the generation X-ers. They follow in the footsteps of the US grunge writers, inspired first by Bret Easton Ellis Less Than Zero, American Psycho.

The River Ophelia was Ettler's first published novel but was written after Marilyn's Almost Terminal New York Adventure which has just been released. The River Ophelia was a 'heavy duty' novel. Confronting, repetitive and relentless in its portrayal of an obsessive, self-abusive woman called 'Justine' and her quest for love. It has been hounded as anti-feminist because it portrays women as weak, pathetic victims of themselves as much as of the patriarchy yet it writes under the guise of sexual reclamation, Justine masturbates at least once a chapter and the novel drips with an amazing variety of bodily fluids.

This could be classified as a political novel because of the way it involves the readers in the events, it forces the reader to form opinions about what is happening because of...