In the world of literary fiction, sometimes it can be difficult to find a female voice among all the men. Here are 4 female authors whose works I've enjoyed reading, and write books that are a little different than the norm.
Miranda July is one of those really quirky, hipster people that you want to hate but just can’t. You may have heard of or seen her movie, “You and Me and Everyone We Know,” an indie romantic comedy film that ties together several subplots into one weird, far off, slightly inappropriate masterpiece. July wears the word “strange” on her sleeve, and she wants those characters, all the people who hang on the fringes of acceptable society, to be noticed. I recommend her books The First Bad Man and No One Belongs Here More Than You. The latter, a collection of short stories depicting strange yet poignant narratives of people who you’re not supposed to love, holds one of the most interesting character lists I’ve ever “met.” But it stands for something important: we are all human, and we all deserve love. I love this book so much that I actually included it in one of the Summer 2016 capsules, “The Call of the Void.”
Banana Yoshimoto is a must read author if you’ve never ventured into Japanese postmodern fiction, or if you love Japanese postmodern fiction and are looking for more authors to add to your list. While Banana isn’t her real name, she goes by that name because it’s both cute and androgynous, a very telling fun fact about herself. Her breakout novel, Kitchen, depicts her relationship with food, family, and a fridge, and she seems to be talking to the reader one on one, in a very personal, sweet manner. I’ve found her books to be enlightening in dark times, and they always seem to encourage me to pick myself up and move on. That’s why this one was included in “The Call of the Void” as well.
While I haven’t known of Lixin’s work for long, her poetry is undoubtedly beautifully written, eloquent, and gives me SO MANY FEELS. Sometimes, you have to reread a sentence because it gives you chills. There is a certain magnetism that all her writing has, a type of depth uncommonly found in many popular poetry books out there. Lixin never goes for the low hanging fruit, the easy emotions with vague, general ideas about feminism, heartbreak, or an overused metaphor. Original, poignant, and profound, Before We Are Ghosts explores the loss of the self, the loss of another, and the difficulty in letting go. It’s currently in the “Alone at a Party” Capsule, on sale now until February 15.
How could I write this list without including Virginia Woolf? Her writing has influenced the way I perceive life, the way I write, the way I think about the things I observe - she is undoubtedly the most influential woman writer I’ve ever read, and easily one of the most relatable. My favorite book of hers is Mrs. Dalloway, simply because I think the parameters of the novella are what make the book so special; it all takes place in one day, and follows the life of a high-society Englishwoman who is planning a party. I’ve written an essay in college about how much I love this book. And you’ll be sure to see it in a future capsule soon!