Genre labels don’t exist when you are in the deepest part of the writing, filtering your unique consciousness and perspective into a work you pray will move people . . . I’m all for the muddying of categories, and find that the novels that stick with me are the ones that play with genre. We call them genre bending, genre transcending, genre breaking, as if they are smashing at the shackles that imprison them in one category or another, and I think it’s a just analogy. Some of my favorite genre-benders are books that are literary (they challenge the reader), but also have an element of science fiction or fantasy. A few of my favorites are Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian. Others are novels that are both literary and suspenseful—Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Tana French’s Broken Harbour, and Megan Abbott’s Dare Meare just a few.
As a young writer recently pointed out to me, why is the “literary” genre the only one that is based on style instead of topic? Women’s Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Historical Fiction, etc., aren’t styles after all, but topics.
Julia Fierro, author of the new novel Cutting Teeth and founder of the renowned Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. Please check out the rest of our recent interview for Brooklyn Based. We had such a fantastic time talking.
Tune in soon for a talk with the irresistible Emma Straub, whose most recent novel, The Vacationers, was released this week.