Tag: Literary Fiction

Horror for Beginners

I am sure there are many readers who would swear on a stack on bibles that they don’t read horror, but who might read certain horror that sneaks onto the bestseller lists or gets literary love.  I thought, in honor of Halloween and All Hallow’s Read (you know– the super-fantastic tradition that Neil Gaiman invented where everyone gives someone a scary book for Halloween?), I would highlight some books that are fantastic horror novels that for one reason or another are read far beyond the normal genre audience for horror.  Sometimes these are books by well-respected literary novelists who are dabbling in a darker hue; sometimes they are subtle horror novels that skirts the edges of the genre. They might be as scary as anything Stephen King ever penned, but they sit on our “literature” shelves rather than in the horror ghetto.  These scary books have gotten a lot of critical love and might be just the thing to give someone who doesn’t think they read horror. (more…)

Fantasy for Literary Fiction Fans

Earlier this week I posted some of the literary fiction authors that I thought fantasy fans might enjoy.  When I was trying to think about the flip side of the coin for this post, I had a much harder time. Not because there aren’t dozens of beautiful writers working in the fantasy genre that I think deserve a wider audience — there are. But while I think I would not have too hard a time convincing most of the fantasy readers I know to take a chance on someone from outside their genre, I’m afraid I can’t say the same about those who self-identify as literary fiction fans.  Those readers willing to take even the trippiest of trips with Murakami or go off with the fairies with Donohue if they are shelved in literature have a built in resistance to stepping over a few aisles to the SF/Fantasy section.  Of course, that’s why displays exist, right?  Pull those suckers out of their genre ghetto and display them with some of your LitFic fabulists and you just might make a sale.  I would love for those who refuse to read anything marketed as fantasy to get a chance to read the gorgeous prose and bravura feats of imagination found in that genre. But I have tried to keep my expectations realistic.  No dragons, no magic wands.  Here are just a few of the fantasy authors that I think could work with the literary crowd. (more…)

Literary Fiction for Fantasy Fans

Every time a new book by Haruki Murakami comes out, like this week’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, I am reminded how much I love him.  The language, the characters, the totally bizarre stuff he sneaks in when you’re not looking — I love it. His books are always beautiful and often weird.  But amazingly they are all also very different — weird in their own unique way.  He is one of the most respected writers in the literary fiction field, and it is surely only a matter of time before he wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.  But I also find he is a popular choice for the discerning fantasy fan. His books are highly erudite, and they deal with universal human desires for connection, the question of whether you can ever really know another person, and the search for a sense of self.  But they are also very high concept in their trappings and sometimes downright bizarre.  It made me think about other literary fiction standbys that could be happily read by fantasy fans.  Some of these have wilder flights of fancy than anything with a “fantasy” sticker on the cover, but for one reason or another they never get the sticker. Others are books that tell a mundane story, but with an offbeat sensibility; a heightened sense of destiny at work; a hint of something not “normal”.  I think these kinds of books would appeal to fantasy fans because they share that sense of visiting another quirkier world, even if just a half-step away. Here are some authors that I think live on the literary fiction shelves but deserve a place in a fantasy reader’s heart. Since turnabout is fair play, later in the week I will share some fantasy authors that I think should be read by literary fiction fans. (more…)