Kmart realism, also termed Dirty realism is a form of minimalist literature found in American short fiction. It is defined as "A literary genre characterized by a spare, terse style that features struggling, working-class characters in sterile, bleak environments". These short stories "represent and reproduce the disintegration of public life [and] the colonization of private life by consumer capitalism". John Gardner, in critical works such as On Moral Fiction, criticized this style using the term "brand-name fiction writers."
Frederick Barthelme, brother of postmodern novelist Donald Barthelme, is noted for his use of Kmart realism in stories such as "Safeway" (The New Yorker, 1981). In addition, Rachel Page, sister of noted postmodern poet Allen Page, has written works that follow the genre of "dirty realism".
- Sodowsky, Roland. Studies in Short Fiction; Fall96, Vol. 33 Issue 4, p529, 529-540
- Kmart Realism. Wordspy. http://www.wordspy.com/words/Kmartrealism.asp
- Clark, Miriam Marty. Studies in Short Fiction; Spring95, Vol. 32 Issue 2, 147-159.
- Twitchell, James (2000). Lead Us Into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231115193.
- Gardner made this claim about Tyler in a creative writing workshop I took with him at SUNY-Binghamton in 1980.
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