The Times, They Are Always Changing

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.

The New York Times.

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.”

The Washington Post

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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.”

USA Today

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 Hollywood Reporter

Wikipedia

Jewish Women’s Archives

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.
 

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2 replies »

  1. If you’re inclined to give Judith a go, I recommend Scruples. I’m tempted to re-read it just to see how it reads today in comparison to current novels. Writing changes so much over time (have you read “Gone with the Wind”? The writing is REALLY different from today’s writing). I recently re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” and couldn’t get through it. Felt slowwwwww. But Judith was a trailblazer and, as they say, a good read. Thanks for honoring her.

    • I have read both Gone with the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird but too many years ago. My first year of book blogging a publicist sent me a couple of British novels written in the late 60s/early 70s and that writing was like trying to move through sludge, although I will say that he certainly knew how to use words and language. Yep. Such different writing. I may try to give Judith a go.

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