This interesting short clip has ruffled a few people's feathers, but Franzen has a point about a type of British writing that has become a genre in itself:
I would hesitate to describe many books as overrated. I would happily stick my neck out for Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but most of the books I dislike are for reasons that I often can't fathom myself.
I find those chunky, macho 'Great American Novel' candidates as unreadable as the effete sub-Iris Murdoch stories that are populated with characters called Rupert, Gertrude and Axel.
I also struggle to appreciate those 'lyrical' novels by Commonwealth writers that specialise in lengthy descriptions of fruit and grandparents.
On the other hand, give me a novel in translation by a Hungarian author or a recent winner of the Prix Goncourt and I'm an avid reader. I don't know why.
Perhaps it's just harder to spot the cliches when you're reading a foreign novel, but I wonder if there's something else too.