Leading article: Unhappiness is...

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The Independent Online

Could it be Leo Tolstoy who is ultimately to blame for writers' predilection for misfortune? He, after all, opened Anna Karenina with the celebrated assertion that happy families are all alike, while every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way – and so, one is invited to conclude, more promising material for novelists.

But you can, as the chair of this year's Orange Prize judges, Daisy Goodwin, said with such feeling, have too much of a bad thing. She threatened to slit her wrists – figuratively, we presume – if she had to read another book about coming to terms with bereavement – thereby perhaps inspiring a whole new generation of miserabilists.

Given that misery memoirs, now turned mis.lit, started to flow in the age when greed was still good, is it not now time for enterprising writers to buck the depressive trend and rediscover the silver lining. We urge Ms Goodwin to hold off with the scalpel and we challenge next year's Orange crop to cheer us up.

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