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Is the modern novel too long ? Do writers string out their writing to conform to current expectations of how long a book should be (seemingly about 300 pages) and in doing so do they lose reader engagement ?

Yet again last night we were discussing an interesting, well written book (Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs) but which people found tedious in places. Another recent read, (The Lowland) was also felt to be too long (did we really need all that detail on the Naxalite uprising ?)

Why don’t writers know when to stop? Why don’t editors cut superfluous waffle ? Answers in the comments please !