Judith Krantz, who almost single-handedly turned the sex-and-shopping genre of fiction into the stuff of high commerce, making her one of the world’s best-selling novelists if not one of the most critically acclaimed, died on Saturday at her home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. She was 91.
Yesterday we lost Judith Krantz, a 1980’s author who wrote sexy, glossy novels that were much the rage. Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins took turns ruling the best seller lists for the 1980s with racy, sexy novels that depicted the lifestyles of the rich and famous…and, well, sexy. The novels were also turned into TV miniseries that were equally big back in the day.
“I write about clothes as magical things that can change you,” [Judith Krantz] she told the New York Times. “I feel that women are comforted by having clothes and accessories. I have every scarf I’ve ever bought.”
She filled her stories with delicious details about her characters’ lavish lifestyles — designer clothes, luxurious estates — and enviable romances. And she spared no specifics when it came to sex.
“If you’re going to write a good erotic scene, you have to go into details,” Krantz told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “I don’t believe in thunder and lightning and fireworks exploding. I think people want to know what’s happening.”
While I think I’ve kept up with books throughout the years, I don’t know of any writers since the ’80s who wrote glossy fiction the way those ladies did. If you can think of someone, drop me a comment. I imagine that their predecessors were writers like Jacqueline Susann, whose novels, such as Valley of the Dolls (I read that!), paved the way, although Susann may have been a much better writer and died far too soon.
Much to my chagrin, I’ve not read any of Krantz’ or Collins’ novels, which doesn’t mean that they weren’t influential or don’t deserve remembering for creating a specialized genre. They were very much the E.L. James of their day.
My interests then lay elsewhere. Equally big in the 1980s was some guy who wrote a bunch of books named Stephen King. I read him instead. And slept with the blanket pulled over my head. A. Lot.
RIP Miss Judith Krantz.
For more information on Judith Krantz:
The Jewish Women’s Archives has Judith Krantz listed as the third largest selling female novelist in history, but a list on wikipedia of best-selling writers puts her around the 14th or 15th.
Categories: book blogger