The Atlantic Wire
Let Us No Longer Be 'Intimate' with Our Novelists
After all, how can a novel be anything but intimate? The act of reading is, almost by definition, an act of intimacy between a reader and writer, an exchange of intellectual fluids. As such, James Joyce's Dublin in Ulysses is intimate, even at it most crowded, cacophonous and inscrutable. The same for the London of Zadie Smith, the ruthless England of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. Intimacy, in the end, is just the transmission of insight from one mind to another mind.
But that's not how the word is used today. "Intimate," as I understand its usage in contemporary criticism, means "small."