Ever before we could even write or read, fiction had already become an important part of the human experience, something we can deduce from the many stories passed down through oral tradition which made it to this day.
With the help of fiction we not only entertain ourselves and others, but more importantly, we can push ourselves to think far beyond the limits we would have known otherwise. As far as I know, the vast majority of great ideas in human history came from great thinkers who sought to pierce the limits of the known and imaginable.
I feel like there are definitely too many literary genres for me to name, but even so, we always have books coming along which don’t seem to fit in any one specific category, essentially defying classification through content which transcends the idea of genres.
In this here category you’ll mostly find these types of books, the ones without any kind of particular home and very much worth reading. In most cases, these types of books tend to have a slower, more profound and methodical to storytelling, and if given the chance, they can teach us quite a bit about the world, the people in it, and ourselves.
Yaa Gyasi has stunned the world more than once since her recent arrival on the literary scene, and Transcendent Kingdom is her latest effort to draw on her unique life experiences to write a novel.
The story follows Gifty, a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience whose brother passed from a heroin overdose and whose suicidal mother basically lives in her bed. Struggling to find answers in both science and faith, Gifty sees there are no easy paths open to her.
Beth Duke has found two years ago the kind of breakthrough any budding author could wish for, when her novel, It All Comes Back to You, became a celebrated bestseller. In it, we are told the story of Ronni, a practical nurse and aspiring writer, whose old patient, Violet, recently passed away.
In the process, she left Ronni with a challenge: she must publish Violet’s life in a book within a year, standing to inherit a grand fortune.
Brit Bennett is a relatively new author on the scene, but both her novels have already turned into bestsellers, and perhaps more importantly, her second novel titled The Vanishing Half, has opened many peoples’ eyes to her insightful worldview.
Taking place across many years and all over the United States, the story follows the fates of two sisters who escape their hometown but end up living in polar opposite worlds years down the line.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, is a figure who needs little introduction among book lovers.
His works have always been distinguished by their profound and meaningful nature, and One Hundred Years of Solitude represents those qualities like none other.
Telling of the rise and fall of a mythical town called Macondo, the story follows the lives of multiple generations belonging to the Buendia family.
Daniel Mason enjoys taking his readers on grand trips through time and around the world, doing so once again in his novel The Winter Soldier.
Taking us to Vienna in 1914, the story follows a young medical student, Lucius, who dreams of becoming a battlefield surgeon. Instead, he finds himself sent to a remote mountain outpost ravaged by typhus, with only a single nurse remaining. Facing an hour darker and more desperate than he could have ever expected, Lucius is forced to make decisions bound to change the lives of all those touched by his presence.
Adam O’Fallon Price may not have begun his literary career a long time ago, but he is certainly setting some high standards for his future works with his latest publication, The Hotel Neversink.
This saga traces the lives of the Sikorsky family members through their ownership of the titular hotel. As generations go by we witness the building of a legacy, as well as the decades-long search for the culprit behind a young boy’s disappearance.
Sally Rooney has taken little time in becoming a distinguished figure in the realm of books with her debut novel Conversations with Friends in 2017, and only a year later she came back with another brilliant story titled Normal People.
To put it simply, it follows two young students as they walk parallel paths over the years and learn the hard way about the complexities of friendship, love, family, and life as a whole in general.
Daniel Mason surprised many when back in 2003 he published his first ever novel while still being a medical student, The Piano Tuner.
Transporting us back to 1886 when the British Empire still existed, the book tells the story of Edgar Drake, the titular tuner, as he receives a strange commission from the War Office: to service an eccentric army surgeon’s piano in Burma. So begin Edgar Drake’s travels to a turbulent and secretive country on the verge of making history.
Robert Dugoni is without a doubt one of the modern giants of literature, his novels earning him fame around the globe. Though he is generally accustomed to writing thrillers, he went in a different direction with The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, presenting us with a profound drama.
The story is centred on the titular Sam, a boy who had the misfortune of being born with ocular albinism, branding him as an outcast from his earlier years. Now a few decades later, Sam looks back upon his life, uncertain of anything anymore, armed only with the will to make sense of the path he had to walk.
Ernest Hemingway has always had a real talent for portraying complex characters in equally complicated situations, made even more impressive with his concise vocabulary.
For Whom the Bell Tolls might be one of his more popular stories, following a young American, Robert Jordan, as he fights through the Spanish Civil War as a member of the International Brigades, attached to an antifascist guerrilla unit in the mountains.
Keith Gessen is in a better position than most to truly ponder on the relation between home and country, having grown up in the United States since the age of six after his family emigrated there from the Soviet Union.
In A Terrible Country, he presents us with a man in his mid-30s by the name of Andrei who went through the exact same path, with a small difference: he chooses to come back to the country he left behind so many years ago. With few prospects to dream about in the U.S., he hopes to find in Moscow the topic for an article to propel his career… unsuspecting of an infinitely greater prize to his journey: profound insights into the human soul.
Chloe Benjamin has erupted onto the literary scene with her first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, and has decided to delve further into the realms of unique and thought-provoking literature in her second book, The Immortalists.
In it, we are introduced to four children who are all given a prophecy by a travelling mystic who could allegedly reveal to people the day they would die. As the years go on we witness them growing up and living out the strange and curious fates they were all assigned.
The question whether or not to have children is one that’s becoming more and more prominent in people’s minds, for long gone are the days when we needed to have as many children as possible to put them to work and have someone to take care of us.
There are many who decide against it, and in her debut novel, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, Cherise Wolas explores just such a woman. Having married a man who shared her desire not to have children, Joan sees her world turned upside down as she becomes unexpectedly pregnant, and against her instincts, decides to keep the child and nevertheless build the family she never really wanted.
Though Stanislaw Kapuscinski (pen name Stan I.S. Law) only truly began his writing efforts after retirement, he has already established himself as a philosophical powerhouse in the science-fiction genre. Though he did publish many books in this short period of time, it could be argued that what really catapulted him to new literary heights was the Avatar trilogy.
Containing all the trademarks of his unique and off-beat style, the first book in the series, titled The Avatar Syndrome, follows the life of Anne as she grows from a baby into a fully-fledged adult, all while having contend with some curiously unusual challenges and harbouring some extraordinary talents.
Writers often make their best works when life pushes them to by exigent circumstances, and Michael Chabon was powerfully moved by the many touching stories his grandfather revealed to him on his deathbed, so much that it inspired him to novelize his life story.
Which parts of the story are reality and fiction? Perhaps we’ll never know, but that one vagueness opens the doors for us to witness a life as extraordinary and absurd as it is ultimately believable, one that can teach us a whole lot more than most factual biographies could ever hope to.