Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fiction with a Capital F?

I’m not talking fiction, I’m talking Fiction.

Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction (whatever), Fantasy, and children’s books just don’t count. Love the stuff, but I’m in the mood for regular Fiction.

I’ve been craving capital-F Fiction, like John Irving. Fiction that suspends disbelief, but is not presented as "real."

Do you know what I mean?

Like Dickens, too. Quirky characters, and plot rich with twists and turns that delight.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Lee Child, Barry Eisler, Joseph Finder, Robert Littell, (why ARE they all men, darnit?!) and Marcus Sakey. But it all feels REAL. They do tons of research to make their books REAL.

Take John Irving. Take Dickens. Even take Neil Gaiman (not sure if he counts, because he’s kinda fantasy). Their fiction isn’t real. It’s kinda plausible. But they use damn good storytelling to suspend your disbelief.

It’s not like 24, where you have to manually put your disbelief on a shelf.

Irving, Dickens, Gaiman, they all use great craft to suspend your disbelief.

Right now, that’s three authors. I’m on a search for more. Who have I forgotten? Missed? Fantasy and Sci-Fi don’t count, nor does Horror or Paranormal. I’m looking for straight fiction with a capital F.

And if anyone can show me a Thriller with a capital F, you get triple bonus points.

10 bonus scribbles:

Christa M. Miller 8/26/2007 08:07:00 AM  

I'd have to say Paul Auster. I've only ever read The Brooklyn Follies (and seen "Smoke"), but it's great stuff, comparable to Irving, I think. And although you said no horror, think of Stephen King. At his best, his books do straddle that line. Have you read Lisey's Story?

I liked Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones although I'm not sure the suspension of disbelief is what you want. If you like short stories, try O. Henry. That's all I can think of ATM...

Nicole Kelly 8/26/2007 03:20:00 PM  

Toni Morrison if you can overlook certain paranormal elements in some of her stories.

Haruki Murakami, again some paranormal elements, but you can totally buy it, which is the strange part.

Mark Terry 8/26/2007 06:12:00 PM  

"The Deal" by Peter Lefcourt.

Jennifer McK 8/27/2007 08:39:00 AM  

I have nothing to offer, but did you notice you won on Allison Brennen's contest?
Congrats.

Jennifer McK 8/27/2007 08:51:00 AM  

Well, he's not really a thriller, but I bought his first two and I love his blog.

http://stevehockensmith.typepad.com/steve_hockensmiths_blog/welcome.html

avery 8/27/2007 01:13:00 PM  

Have you read Pillars of the Earth by Vonnegut? It's historical, but very good.

How about any of the Gears' work? They're an paleontologist couple who write about Native Americans. Their trilogy of The Visitant, The Summoning God and Bone Walker are my favorites. They're thriller/mysteries that take place both in the past and in the present; two scientists are excavating the scene of an ancient murder, while the story of the murder plays out in the flashback chapters.

Also (you can tell I have a bent for historical Fiction), Wilbur Smith's Warlock (about ancient egypt) and Gary Jenning's Aztec are a good read, as well.

writtenwyrdd 8/27/2007 03:30:00 PM  

You might like Louise Erditch's Love Medicine or an out of print book called Dance Me Outside by a guy last name of Kinsella. They're very different from the usual lit fic ('scuze me: Lit Fic) because they are written about indians and the reservation life.

Stewart Sternberg 8/27/2007 05:50:00 PM  

Applause for the Toni Morrison and Vonnegut references. Allow me to put on my English Teacher hat and make the following "F" for Fiction recommendations. These are books with compelling stories and rich characters. And yes, some with magical or supernatural elements. If you've haven't read one of them, I'd urge you to pick it up:

1: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury)
2: To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee)
3: Cimmaron Rose (James Lee Burke)
4: A Fine and Private Place (Beagle)
5: Magic Time (Kinsella)

Kate S 8/27/2007 06:49:00 PM  

I was thinking of Vonnegut too. "Galapagos" - unusual elements, fun, some suspension required.

spyscribbler 9/01/2007 12:20:00 PM  

Thank you! I've written every single suggestion down!