Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armchair BEA: What is Literary Fiction?

It took me some time to decide about this.  What books do I include? What books do I leave out?  Many of the books I thought of immediately, I have previously mentioned in our Classics discussion. So I did some searching.  

According to Wikipedia, the definition of literary fiction is that the work must be “critically acclaimed” and “serious”.   The plot is focused more on the “inner stories of the characters that drive the plot”.

So…with that definition in mind, some of my favorites are

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon:  I absolutely LOVED this book.  For any bibliophile, who wouldn’t love a story about “the cemetery of forgotten books”.  The writing is amazingly beautiful.  I won’t go into all the details, but will give you a few quotes:  

"Few things leave a deeper mark on the reader, than the first book that finds its way to his heart."

"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you."

"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."

 “One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill: What a story..A story of a girl that spans 60 years and who helps change history. All of the emotions that I went through with this book are, to me, a sign on a wonderful book. I cried with her, got angry with her, grieved with her and rejoiced with her. Her story was truly an adventure.

“I remember wondering, within a year or two of taking my first steps, why only men sat to drink tea and converse, and why women were always busy. I reasoned that men were weak and needed rest.” 

“But I have long loved the written word, and come to see in it the power of the sleeping lion. This is my name. This is who I am. This is how I got here. In the absence of an audience, I will write down my story so that it waits like a restful beast with lungs breathing and heart beating.” 

“Some say that I was once uncommonly beautiful, but I wouldn't wish beauty on any woman who has not her own freedom, and who chooses not the hands that claim her.” 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Another story that is one of growing up in more ways than one. This story brought me through every emotion possible. Seeing things a child shouldn't see, living through things they shouldn't and being able to move forward with life is what this one is all about. 

“She said, 'I'm so afraid.' And I said, 'why?,' and she said, 'Because I'm so profoundly happy, Dr. Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening.' I asked her why and she said, 'They only let you be this happy if they're preparing to take something from you.” 

“...and every day I thank [God] that I am alive, not because I fear death, but because my wife has a husband and my son is not an orphan.” 

“He knew I'd seen everything in that alley, that I'd stood there and done nothing. He knew that I'd betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time. ” 

There you go.......3 of my favorites.  The story lines in the last two are not for the weak at heart, but they make you think, make you feel, and that's what a great story is all about. 


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I really need to read The Shadow of the Wind!

your bookie said...

I'm glad you mentioned Lawrence Hill. He is brilliant and often over looked. Great choice.

BookSmartie said...

The Kite Runner was awesome!!! My aunt forced it on me - and I thank her so much for it! That book was just extraordinary!

Kirthi said...

You are my book twin. I chose The Shadow of the Wind and the Kite Runner too! The Kite Runner destroyed me. I was absolutely torn and devastated in the best possible way a reader can be.


Anonymous said...

Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorite books!! Great list
Kerri @ Turn the Page Reviews

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

The Kite Runner is still one of my very favorite books!

Anonymous said...

Shadow of the Wind sounds so great! Definitely need to add it to my TBR! thanks for sharing!