Firstly, what is literary fiction? I understand this term as referring to a novel that deals with any kind of theme/s in a complex way, and the characters in literary fiction are like avocados because once the first layer of their personality is peeled there’s another, and then finally the author lets the reader see the heart, which is the round avocado seed.
Influenced by literary novels that I’ve read in the past, I’ve noticed that authors usually move beyond the surface level of their themes, sometimes offering social commentary on the world around them. Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners examines 1960s London and the question of racism and racial identity.
But, what about novels that don’t fit under the category of literary fiction? Different novels have different things to offer and, while a novel like Mary Shelly’s. Frankenstein may seem more thought- provoking than Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linnings Playbook I think both novels can challenge its readers. One prevailing theme in Shelly’s work is monstrosity, and light and darkness. Ouick’s work is emotionally fueled as it traverses part of Pat People’s life and his struggle with mental health issues.
So, to answer the question of this discussion, I think that literary fiction does dig into the depth of chosen themes and characters, leaving open a richness of ideas and images which spark myriad interpretations. At the same time, I think that other types of fiction can encourage deep thinking. Sometimes, some novels don’t set out on a quest to explore complex themes; that is okay.It is up to the reader to feel enriched and willing to read between and beyond the lines.
What are your thoughts? Comment below.