In Brian Reynold Myers' article "A Reader's Manifesto", Myer's criticizes the prose style and insight of writers such as Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy, and Don Delillo. He says "literary fiction" has such a bad reputation because readers are only exposed to mediocre modern literary fiction promoted by what he calls "the sentence cult".
Myers argues that modern literary fiction is a term used to describe writing that is slow-paced and often adorned with decorative language. This style of writing gives readers the impression that they are reading something above them that must be admired. It allows the members of the sentence cult to praise a book by pointing to a single sentence rather than making the effort to criticize the story as a whole, including the insight, the plot, and the characters -- all of which are lacking in modern work. Classic literary writers such as Tolstoy (Myer's example, not mine!) strive for clear language, simple story-telling and depend on depth of character and insight to make their work great. And, because they think of their story as a whole, it's harder to point out a sentence or paragraph that makes them great writers.
I agreed with a lot of his points, and I know a lot of you readers also dislike literary fiction. I'm wondering if you agree that there is a difference between modern literary fiction and classic time-tested literary fiction -- for those of you who have read both. And, how do you feel about writerly writing? If you say you hate it, are you successful in avoiding it in your own work?