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Literary fiction by Joyce Saricks


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This was presented as part of the 2016 NSW public library readers’ advisory seminar 23 March 2016.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Literary fiction by Joyce Saricks

  1. 1. Literary Fiction A Genre for the Intellect
  2. 2. Intellect Appeal: Literary Fiction, Mysteries, Psychological Suspense, Science Fiction • Complex puzzles, ideas, and relationships challenge a reader intellectually. • Provocative issues and positions force readers to consider carefully, to view the world differently. • The compelling pace that drives these novels is sometimes more leisurely and sometimes adrenaline-fueled. • Tone is often unsettling.
  3. 3. The Appeal of Literary Fiction
  4. 4. Style/Language Critically acclaimed, often award-winning Lyrical language— language matters here Often experimental style
  5. 5. Characterizations In-depth and introspective character- centered novels Protagonists not always sympathetic Even secondary characters are fully developed
  6. 6. Story Line Character-centered, complex, multi-layered, and provocative Wrestle with universal dilemmas and serious social issues Frequently open ended or with ambiguous endings Short story collections
  7. 7. Pacing Leisurely paced. Densely written stories unfold at a stately pace. Complex characters and story lines plus imaginative language and style can slow reading pace. Generally more description than dialog.
  8. 8. Tone/Mood Dark, gritty tone may reflect seriousness of issues Humor also abounds— light or satirical.
  9. 9. Frame/Setting Richly descriptive stories lend themselves to elaborate backgrounds. Many writers create a strong sense of time and/or place that frames the novel.
  10. 10. Literary Fiction Classics
  11. 11. Michael Chabon • Genre-blender with elements of Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, SF, and more • Complex characters • Layered stories • Humorous, elegant style • Fiction and nonfiction, also for teens and children
  12. 12. Ian McEwan • Elegantly lyrical style • Character-centered • Psychological, often dark tone • Unsettling • Book discussion favorite
  13. 13. Toni Morrison • Nobel prize winner, Oprah author • African-American women, past and present • Universal stories • Serious issues • Lyrical prose
  14. 14. Haruki Murakami • Mundane and surreal blended in characters and story lines • Serious issues and humor • Spare, lyrical prose • Dreamy mood and haunting atmosphere
  15. 15. Zadie Smith • Entertaining and thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction • Lyrical, witty prose • Vivid characterizations • Humorous, often satirical prose • Complex, sprawling story lines
  16. 16. More Names to Know
  17. 17. Crossover with Fiction Genres
  18. 18. Literary Fiction for Nonfiction Readers
  19. 19. Trends
  20. 20. International Writers
  21. 21. In Translation
  22. 22. Trends Classics—re-issued, especially in audio and as graphic novels Popularized on the big and small screens
  23. 23. Trends • Classics adapted and retold, sequels and prequels
  24. 24. Trends • Source of book discussion titles—from the Literary Fiction genre and the literary ends of other genres
  25. 25. Resources • The New York Times Book Review (historical available on • Indiebound (an online community of independent booksellers) • Any “Best Fiction” list from major newspapers, or • Early Word keeps track of best lists in the right gutter. • New Yorker magazine for up-and-coming Literary Fiction (and Nonfiction) authors
  26. 26. Awards • Rusa’s Notable Books • Carnegie Medal • Nobel Prize • Pulitzer Prize • National Book Award • National Book Critics Circle Award • Man Booker Prize
  27. 27. Literary Fiction Readers • Follow awards • Read all books by authors they appreciate • Are adventurous, willing to try others that offer similar appeal elements: character- centered, provocative books, written in the complex style they enjoy • May read literary end of genres but may not like to think of themselves as genre readers