Friday, February 11, 2022

Seven top novels about family curses

Renée Branum has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana and an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Narrative Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, Brevity, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. She was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Prose Fellowship in 2020. She currently lives in Cincinnati, where she is pursuing a PhD in Fiction writing.

Branum's new novel is Defenestrate.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven stories "about myths and beliefs inherited from each generation," including:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

It would be difficult to construct a reading list about family curses without including this one. Díaz is meticulous about shaping the origins and path of the generational curse that wreaks havoc on Oscar’s chances of finding love and success. At turns playful and heartbreaking, this novel’s scope is frequently epic in feeling, illustrating the power of storytelling to shape an inherited sense of self even across decades and nations.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao appears among Wajahat Ali's eleven books on loving a country that doesn’t love you back, Carrie V Mullins's eleven favorite unreliable narrators, Saskia Lacey's fifty incredible literary works destined to become classics, Samantha Mabry's five books that carry curses, Susan Barker's top ten novels with multiple narratives, BBC Culture's twelve greatest novels of the 21st century, Emily Temple's fifty greatest debut novels since 1950, Niall Williams's top ten bookworms' tales, Chrissie Gruebel's nine best last lines in literature, Alexia Nader's nine favorite books about unhappy families, Jami Attenberg's top six books with overweight protagonists, Brooke Hauser's six top books about immigrants, Sara Gruen's six favorite books, Paste magazine's list of the ten best debut novels of the decade (2000-2009), and The Millions' best books of fiction of the millenium. The novel is one of Matthew Kaminski's five favorite novels about immigrants in America and is a book that made a difference to Zoë Saldana.

The Page 99 Test: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

--Marshal Zeringue