Art Kavanagh



Since January 2017, I’ve been posting most of my writing on Medium. During that time, I’ve been giving priority to fiction, particularly shorter forms. I’ve also posted a couple of pieces of what I’ve been loosely calling literary criticism, though maybe just "criticism" would be a more accurate term. Two of those have been among my most viewed (and read) posts on the site, and are still available here. The other two, both essays on poetry, are perhaps a bit heavy going for Medium and can be found on this site (see Literary Criticism below).

My Medium posts about aphantasia

Apart from fiction and criticism, I’ve written an accidental series on the subject of aphantasia, since recognizing in March or April 2018 that I have that condition. (I’m using “condition” in the widest conceivable sense, as equivalent to “state”, and not to imply that aphantasia is a medical condition or impairment.) Here is the list of posts so far — I'll update it if and when I add more.

My fiction on Medium

I've made a list of my own stories on Medium. It includes several short stories, a novella and a novel, all of which are free to read. As a bonus, here is the shortest story I've written so far, “Closure”. It comes in at about 750 words. I originally posted it on Medium but deleted it last year and now I've reposted it here.

Recent posts

The phone's not smart so you might have to be
What's the ideal smartphone for someone who doesn't like phones?

Short fiction on Medium — recommendations
Though I've ended my email newsletter, “Recommended short fiction on Medium” after a little over a year, I'm still very fond of the title and I want to continue to use it.

Could subscription reading put paid to the ebook?
Writers, “aspiring” and the other kind, would do better to look to subscription services than to the Kindle ecosystem if they want to make money from their writing. At the moment the closest thing to a subscription publishing model that's open to self-publishers and isn't (like Kindle Unlimited) under Amazon's control is Medium.

HTML and Markdown
Though I think Markdown is (from a writer's point of view) elegant and enjoyable to use, it's also frustrating and a reminder of a missed opportunity.

Literary criticism

I’m describing this section as “Literary criticism” for want of a better term. It’s intended to include links to my writing about other writing — in particular fiction, poetry and (conceivably, eventually) drama. At the moment, I’m alternating between two projects. The first is to turn my doctoral thesis (“Andrew Marvell’s ambivalence about justice”) into something more widely accessible; the second to examine how some authors have been able to maintain interest in the same or connected characters over a series of crime fiction novels.

Overkill's deceptive attraction
My discussion of the plot of Gillian Flynn's second novel, Dark Places (2009).

Rereading Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Kate Atkinson’s first novel has a narrator who falls into three different types, each pulling in different directions. This results in a “teeming”, overstuffed tale whose profusion of detail tends to compensate for or distract from a glaring gap in the narrator’s memory. It’s a novel that requires to be reread.

Finite though unbounded: the abolition of infinity in the poetry of William Empson
A long essay (originally 5,000 words, but it seems to have stretched a bit over the years) about a theme in the early poetry of William Empson, which I wrote in 1996 and now think is worth resurrecting in a very slightly revised form.

The paradoxical ambition of Andrew Marvell’s Third Advice to a Painter
This is an argument (really a by-product of my thesis) about one of Marvell’s satires.

Who really killed The General’s Daughter?
A discussion of the resolution of the plot of Nelson DeMille’s 1992 novel The General’s Daughter.

Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike books
This post needs to be updated to take account of Lethal White. That will have to wait until I’ve read it.

Book reviews

I’m about to start moving those book reviews that I want to keep from Goodreads to this site over the next few months.