Monday, November 15, 2010

Lady Writers

In light of the recent hubbub over Jonathan Franzen's Time cover and the unanimous excellent reviews for his new book, Freedom and the well-placed but misrepresented anger on behalf of female writers I have come up with a list of ten contemporary female written novels. These are authors that men, women, everyone should read because they're really fucking good.

(in no specific ranking)
  1. Lorrie Moore Anagrams -- One word description (plus five more): quirky (in the best way possible).
  2. Lisa Moore Alligator -- Canadian author who doesn't adhere to the ol' man versus nature, nature wins trope of which Canadian authors are so fond.
  3. Julia Leigh Disquiet -- Favourite part: two children coming across the dead baby in the freezer whilst looking for ice-cream.
  4. Jhumpa Lahiri Interpreter of Maladies -- Just read this after years of being told, sometimes forcefully, by my book mentor/one of the loves of my life, Derek, and now I feel ashamed for waiting so long because she is unbelievable.
  5. Louise Erdrich The Antelope Wife -- A master at modernizing First Nations' mythology.
  6. Alice Munro Too Much Happiness -- Why this over other Munro's? First of all, all of her stories are gold but I've chosen this one because of the sinister undertones; kind of brings to mind Southern gothic a la Flannery O'Connor.
  7. Amy Hempel Reasons to Live -- The Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried is my favourite story ever. I read it every few weeks. Perfect. That is all.
  8. Dorothy Allison Bastard Out of Caroline -- The kind of book that you feel in your bones.
  9. A M Homes This Book Will Save Your Life -- I had this book as one of my staff picks when I worked in a bookstore and I would have customers come back to thank me because they had spent three days laughing.
  10. Paula Fox Desperate Characters -- One Two words: paranoid descent. Plus, she's Courtney Love's grandma!
It's time we (society-wise) left behind the tired, out-dated, insulting and really dumb fucking idea that women who write good, literary books are not an anomaly.

What do you think? Who am I missing? (I know that this list consists mostly of white, straight women so please, leave suggestions in the comments for queer or women of colour authors who should be celebrated.)


  1. I just perused my bookshelf... You already named Jhumpa Lahiri, Louise Erdrich, and Dorothy Allison. I might add Toni Morrison and Barbara Kingslover to the list?

    To be honest, most of my contemporary fiction books are written by male authors. However, I do have a decent collection of non-fiction books by female authors: Samantha Power, Naomi Klein, Karen Armstrong, etc.

  2. Gah, I forgot about Toni Morrison! Oops! I've just read Poisonwood Bible and I enjoyed it but haven't been terribly compelled to read her other books. Recommendations?

    And, I really love Naomi Klein but I've never actually read any of her books. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. If you are looking for a reputable contextual ad company, I suggest you have a look at Chitika.