Ian Hamilton

You may not have noticed it, but this has been an important month in the shaping of our more low-grade literary values. Or so it says in the brochure in front of me: ‘Do you want to know what’s out in June? All the old ideas about readers of women’s novels. That’s what’s out, baby!’ The brochure, some twelve glossy pages of it, with a big girl in keep-fit (or is it ballet?) gear as centrefold, has been issued by Pan Books, and it inaugurates a new series of paperback novels, novels on which Pan are about to lavish ‘their biggest ever advertising campaign’. The ‘target – market’ is ABC1 women between the ages of 15 and 35, women too worldly-wise to wallow in the old formula romances, but too busy to tackle anything too heavy: ‘Each Pavanne novel is a sophisticated diversion for the bright, modern woman who likes her romance bitter-sweet, and expects a novel to reflect today’s world.’

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