There is no definitive definition of literary fiction. It's a bit like porn: hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Ha! Not really, but close.
Sam over at Tiny Library offered a wonderfully concise definition of literary fiction. She writes that literary fiction, "can come from any genre but it has to impress with beautiful writing in addition to a good story. Sometimes in literary fiction the story can take a back-seat and you get more introspective, character driven novels."
Three of my top literary fiction writers are:
|Conroy is a delightful man in person.|
2. Jhumpa Lahiri: In the past I wasn't much of a short story reader but I very much enjoyed her two short story collections, Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth. However, what I love most is her novel, The Namesake. Lahiri has a new novel coming out in September, The Lowland.
3. Sarah Waters: Such a great writer. I could read her writing about paint drying. I love her sentences, her ability to create atmosphere and emotion, and her characters are exquisite. My favorite is Tipping the Velvet and my least favorite is Affinity, yet I read it twice. Nan King, the main character in Tipping, is perhaps my favorite character in all of contemporary fiction.
Two literary fiction writers I plan on reading soon:
Last year at the Iowa City Book Festival I went to a joint reading by Dean Bakopoulos and Patrick Somerville. I'd never heard of either writer, but my friend Cayt had, and I was curious and tagged along. I enjoyed hearing each writer read from his current book and loved the way they talked about their writing and their literary friendship. I ended up buying Bakopoulos's My American Unhappiness and Somerville's The Cradle. I haven't read either book yet, but they're on my TBR pile, so stay tuned!
|Bakopoulos and Somerville, Iowa City, 2012|