When I was working full-time, I used to look forward to vacation time to have a chance to catch up on reading. As a career woman, often under a lot of stress, I tended to turn toward lighter reading, primarily mysteries, but I missed the intensity and quality of writing that prevails in literary fiction. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you some of the best literary fiction that I’ve read in the last year or so.
Island Beneath the Sea, A Novel Isabel Allende, HarperCollins Publishers. The story of an African-American slave and her journey from Haiti to New Orleans, from slavery to freedom.
Still Alice Lisa Genova, Simon and Schuster. The first person account of a Harvard professor’s descent into early stage dementia. Hard to believe it’s fictional. Genova first self-published this masterpiece, endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Bean Trees, A novel Barbara Kingsolver, HarperCollins Publishers. A story of poverty, love and friendship showcasing Kingslover’s delectable prose.
Mariette in Ecstasy Ron Hansen, HarperCollins Publishers. A tale of a young postulant’s apparent divine possession and religious ecstasy. Hansen employs some unique literary devices, offering some exquisite description.
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck, Penquin Publishing. Experience the plight of dust bowl refugees who migrate to California at the height of the depression.
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemmingway, Simon and Schuster. If you read this as a teen like I did, you will want to revisit it–a novel of expatriates and the “Lost Generation.”
None of these recommendations is a light, mindless read but the quality of the prose is guaranteed to impact your own writing experience.