15 October 2010
Is there such a thing as American cozy?
Of course definitions of cozy can be pretty broad and varied. I can think of many different authors that could be considered cozy
P.G. Wodehouse (?)
Most things from Persephone
Anne of Green Gables
The Secret Garden
Old Fashion Cozy
Perhaps Wilkie Collins and even Dickens for those that like him
With the exception of L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series (Canadian) and Heidi (Swiss) my idea of cozy is decidedly British. (I should be spelling it 'cosy' I guess, but the My Porch Manual of Style won't allow it.)
Hmm...what about...no...maybe...mmm not really. What could be considered American Cozy? Is there American Cozy?
Let me try again...
Maybe Laura Engalls Wilder?
May Sarton could be complex cozy, especially her journals.
I know Miss Read fans would put her on the list. UPDATE: D'oh! Michelle Ann pointed out that Miss Read is English. What was I thinking?! I have read about four of her books. Maybe it is because American blogger Book Psmith is so into them. But she is also into Wodehouse and he sure isn't American. Sheesh. I guess my brain melted a bit.
There is some temptation to overlap with chick-lit, but while those may be highly enjoyable, I don't think I would put them in the cozy camp.
Books on books can be hugely cozy. In fact Helene Hanff's 84, Charing Cross Road is like the Empress of Cozy. But, although Hanff was an American and half the book takes place in America, the focus seems a little too Anglocentric to truly be American Cozy. Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris could though.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher's The Home Maker is definitely American Cozy. Of course it took British publisher Persephone to revive this gem.
I think I could put American food writer Ruth Reichl on the cozy list. Her three volumes of memoirs are delightfully cozy. Just make sure you have something delicious to eat near to hand.
Edith Wharton would fall into the Traditional American Cozy, and to some degree Henry James as well. I think a case could be made for Willa Cather as well.
But all this feels a bit like stretching. Is the cozy read uniquely British? Which authors or books would you consider to be American Cozy?