How many times have I read in online articles about getting published that NO ONE wants any book over 350 pages?
City on Fire by Mr. Hallberg. 927 pages. That's like nearly 600 pages over! That's like one and half novels over! And Mr. Hallberg received several million dollars in advance. Isn't that simply the rewarding of bad behavior? The Goldfinch by Ms. Tartt. 784 pages. Infinite Jest: 1,079. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: 639. Any book by Mr. Franzen: you're not going to get out at under 500. That's 250 turns of the page. The god-damned Harry Potter books. Not a one less than 600 pages!!!
I have no problem with long books. I love to spend months in one (I'm an "exacting" reader); enjoying being in that world. In the act of reading. That MAGIC act. I have a tendency to write in Franzenian lengths myself. So, I guess my question is: if so many bestsellers, modern classics, film-makeable tales and publishing phenoms are upwards of 500 pages (even debut novels--The Secret History anyone?) why do I keep coming across this decidedly UNMAGIC number of 350? Besides, isn't it the job of editors to whittle down mammoth manuscripts into easily digestible amounts of words. I mean, what exactly got cut out of I Know This Much is True? I know this much is true: it wasn't much.
So please, whoever keeps dropping that three-hundred-and-fifty; please stop. I'm even willing to pay you $350.00 if you will. Just leave a bid in the comments box. I'm negotiable.