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By George, I think I’ve discovered a new genre of books!

Posted on | November 7, 2013 | 11 Comments

There used to be Young Adult (there still is), but now there’s also New Adult! You’re all familiar with Adult fiction, Literary fiction, Women’s fiction, not to mention “Chick-Lit” and Romance. But over the past few months, I’ve read four novels that I think might constitute a new sub-category of adult/women’s fiction! A category I plan to contribute to.

The four novels I’m referring to fall somewhere between literary and commercial…riveting and fast-paced…well written with complex protagonists…a strong plotline…and so on. But what distinguishes them from other adult/women/etc novels is the subject matter. They are all about parents and their children…sometimes poor parenting…sometimes misbehaving children…sometimes misbehaving children and misguided parenting…almost always over-anxious, overly protective, overly involved parents…

The novels I’m referring to include This Beautiful Life (by Helen Schulman), Schroder (by Amity Gage ), Defending Jacob (by William Landay), and The Dinner (by Herman Koch). They each make astute observations about facets of parenting…the challenges we face as mothers and fathers…and also the increasingly complicated world our children must navigate, which includes the pitfalls of social media. As a mother I’m drawn to these stories and have enjoyed each one. In fact, I’ve written my own version (The Dangerous Edge of Things)—two women, two daughters, one phony Facebook profile—and now feel qualified to wax poetic about these four novels—not wild about two of the endings, would have liked an additional point-of-view in one, object (a bit) to the unreliable narrator in another.

There’s more, but I’d rather hear what you have to say if you’ve read any of these novels. And if you think they actually make up a new GENRE? If so, what’s it called?


11 Responses to “By George, I think I’ve discovered a new genre of books!”

  1. Yvonne Johnston (@Whyjay99)
    November 7th, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    Are you sure it’s a new genre rather than just common subject matter? I do agree with you though as I’d noticed the same thing myself. I’ve read The Dinner but not the others on your list. However, in the last few months, I have read these which all deal with similar themes:
    -AM Homes ‘May We Be Forgiven’
    -Isabel Ashdown ‘The Summer of ’76’ Narrative is written from the child’s point of view (with hindsight).
    -Paula Daley ‘What Kind of Mother Are You?’
    All published in the last year.
    You may be onto something here!

  2. Herta
    November 7th, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

    I am hoping to spark a discussion, and am only half-kidding about a new genre, though based on your comments who knows!? I haven’t read the books on your list…are they fact or fiction? Thank you for the response.

  3. Yvonne Johnston (@Whyjay99)
    November 7th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

    All fiction. The AM Homes one was the winner of this year’s Women’s Prize For Fiction (the Orange prize as was).

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