Monday, April 1, 2013

"Folk Fiction"

I'm reading The Welsh Healer by Ginger Myrick, a novel set in 15th Century Wales and England during the Hundred Years' War. Myrick delves into Welsh herbal medicine, mystical healing, family customs, and many other aspects of the Welsh culture. In trying to describe the novel on Twitter (yes, I'm addicted!), I thought of the terms "historical fiction" and, perhaps more apt, "folk fiction." Because that's what The Welsh Healer is really about -- the customs, the beliefs and superstitions, the character of 15th-Century Welsh people.

And I got to thinking... Southern fiction is also folk fiction. What is it many of us really value about Southern literature? The fact that it describes the culture of the South, the people, the traditions, the food, the values ... all those things that Myrick also discusses in The Welsh Healer. So, why haven't I heard the term "folk fiction" bantered about in literary circles? Am I just out of the loop? Has anyone else heard of this genre? Should it be a genre? I sure think so! And should we differentiate between "Southern folk fiction" and other types?

5 comments:

Ginger Myrick said...

I feel very honored by this comparison, Louisa. Thank you so much for your time and interest. It means everything, and I am THRILLED that you like the book!

Louisa said...

Thanks, Ginger! I appreciate all the time you must have spent researching the history and folk medicine of that time period. Is historic fiction your speciality?

Ginger Myrick said...

It is but only in the way that it fits my inspirations. I'm not really an expert at anything. I just seem to have a knack for insinuating myself into the story. Again, thank you for your kind words. I am touched!

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Hi Louisa, i've never heard the term folk fiction, but it seems apt the way you use it here - and why not? Your description of Ginger's book has intrigued me and I will definitely look it up as it sounds fascinating :)

Do you think "folk" fiction is similar to "regional' fiction" or do you see "folk fiction" as totally different?

Great post, thanks :)

Louisa said...

Hi Marianne! I think regional fiction focuses on the characteristics of a particular location (such as the American South or Scotland) and how that region affects the story. Like, Faulkner, for example -- his stories couldn't have happened anywhere but the South!

My opinion is that folk fiction is more about the customs and beliefs of the people -- rather than just influencing the story, it IS the story. That's my idea, anyway...