what is the avant-garde?

“To be responsible for the happiness of the Universe,” as W.H. Auden points out, “is not a sinecure.” Equally, the apocalyptic-epiphanic mode in fiction is not for minor talents. It should be clear that the more superbly an author throws away the crutches of verisimilitude, the more heavily he must lean on his own style and wit. Experimental novels may have a habit of looking easy (certainly easier to write than to read), but their failure-rate is alarmingly high–approaching, I sometimes fear, 100 per cent.

Martin Amis

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