Last week The Washington Post ran an interview with Kurt Vonnegut, author of such American classics as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle. The article quoted Vonnegut as saying that all great books are about "what a bummer it is to be a human being."
Ah. This was one reason majoring in English didn't further my writing ambitions. Intellectually, I get much of modern "great" writing, but emotionally...it just doesn't speak to me. Or when it does, it depresses me. I really don't like being depressed all the time.
So, can great books be happy? Can they be uplifting and inspiring--or does being "happy" immediately disqualify them from being "great"?