Literary Fiction Definition – What’s the best definition for Literary Fiction? Books in the Literary Fiction genre tend to be more “sophisticated” than books that are simply labeled as Commercial, Mainstream, or General Fiction. Examples of Literary Fiction authors include Barbara Kingsolver, John LeCarre, and Toni Morrison.
Literary Fiction often has several or all of the following characteristics: slower-paced, advanced vocabulary, poetic or flowery language, longer and more complex sentences, an unusual story structure and/or writing style, character-driven instead of plot-driven, complex themes, highly original and/or intellectual ideas, and not-so-simple and/or less-than-happy endings.
Unfortunately, some Literary Fiction authors put too much emphasis on their writing style. When that happens, the story suffers–and so does the reader. Most readers don’t want to read a sentence that’s half a page long. They don’t want to read a sentence five times and still be unsure what it means. And they don’t want to use a dictionary every five minutes.
Think of it this way…
A badly written literary novel is like a good-looking person without any character. That type of person and that type of book might be interesting for a few seconds, but that’s about it. If you’re an author and you want to write “smart” fiction, try to write a novel that straddles the commercial/literary boundary.
That’s the best of both worlds.
Scroll below now to see 25 literary fiction genre examples,
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Literary Fiction Definition – Examples
Review this list of popular examples to help you get a better understanding of the literary fiction genre.
1. 1984 by George Orwell
2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
6. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
7. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
8. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
11. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
14. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
15. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
16. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
17. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
18. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
19. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
20. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
21. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
22. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
23. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
24. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Literary Fiction Definition – Related Book Genres
* Commercial Fiction Definition
* Contemporary Fiction Definition
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