Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top ten genre-defying novels

In 2006, author Kit Whitfield named a top ten list of "genre-defying novels" for the Guardian.

One title on her list:
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Marvellously enjoyable as well as moving and highly intelligent, a book I've read to pieces. On the face of it it's a naturalistic novel and, in its portrait of female friendship and terrors, it provides the same kind of satisfaction as standard chick lit, only better. But also, as part of the story, there's a character who is psychic, and uncannily accurate in lots of her seemingly flaky conclusions. It's not made an issue of, it's just a character detail, harmoniously worked into the plot as a parallel to her two best friends' personalities. Atwood has written some more openly speculative works, but The Robber Bride is my favourite example of her boldness and imagination: rather than leaving out the psychic Charis because the book is supposed to be mainstream literature, she brings her in, and it works beautifully.
Read Whitfield's argument for genre-defying novels and Number One on her list.

Visit Kit Whitfield's website.

--Marshal Zeringue