What is Literary Fiction?
As unclear as literary fiction might sound, literary fiction is really just what the name suggests, a work of fiction that has more literary elements and merits than genre fiction. Literary books tend to focus more on the character development, structure and complexity of the writing, whereas popular fiction is more plot driven. Literary books often explore and reflect on human, political, and social conditions and are more likely to have a darker tone and slower pace compared to genre or popular fiction. Literary fiction books can be tricky to distinguish because there can be an overlap between genre books and literary fiction. For example, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is considered both literary fiction and genre fiction, because it has elements of literary fiction but follows the format of a dystopian genre. Although it's difficult to define literary fiction and even more difficult to categorize literary fiction books, one thing for sure is that literary books have complexity and excellent artistic qualities in writing and storyline. Browse some of the best literary fiction books: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, 1984 by George Orwell, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
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