literary fiction genre

Genre Talk: Why Literary Fiction Isn’t For Me

A while back I talked about a genre I decided I was going to start avoiding. Writing that post made me think about the other genres that I faithfully avoid (or try at least try to). For me, one of those genres is literary fiction.

If you’re not familiar with the genre, here are some well-known literary fiction novels. I imagine these will be familiar to you:

the great gatsby fitzgerald    no country for old men cormac mccarthy    as i lay dying william faulkner

Literary fiction is a world apart from genre fiction (which is what I love). These books are a bit more abstract (or literary), sometimes take on more challenging subjects, and can oftentimes be more philosophical.

Here’s why they’re not for me*:
  1. The plot pacing. Genre fiction usually has big ups and downs in the action, making for much more of a page-turner. Literary fiction tends to be more linear as far as the plot goes. You don’t find yourself desperate to know how the book ends or frantically turning pages as you sit at the edge of your seat. Literary fiction is more about enjoying the ride, not the destination. I’m more of a destination girl.
  2. The writing. While I can 100% respect the gorgeous writing that comes with the literary fiction territory, it bores me to death. It’s like, I get that her eyes are green. I don’t need you to take a whole paragraph to describe how her eyes are green. Again, it’s about stopping and smelling the roses. I don’t want to smell the roses. I saw them, so let’s move on.
  3. It’s too cerebral. More often than not, it’s not about what the characters are doing. It’s usually about who the characters are and the ideas they represent. Like I mentioned earlier, it can get very philosophical. Honestly, I’m getting bored just thinking about that.
*I understand that I have made some generalizations here. I know that what I have said is not necessarily true for all literary fiction novels!
While I have immense respect literary fiction novels, at the end of the day, they’re just not my thing. 


Do you enjoy literary fiction? What are some of your favorites? Is there a genre(s) you tend to avoid?

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2 comments

    1. Well I think there is a bunch of different types, but yes, Gatsby is definitely a good example. Probably one of the more “accessible” examples of literary fiction at that!