Friday, December 14, 2007

best overlooked fiction

Because I brought it up in that last post about "best of" lists--Shameless gave some love to publications that make an effort to highlight great books that have somehow missed mainstream coverage.

So let's put together a list of our favorite overlooked fiction. Post your suggestion as a comment and put a line or two about why. I'll publish the complete list of Best Overlooked Fiction on Monday, Dec 17th. There are no rules about what you choose.


moonrat said...

I'll go first (and, incidentally, start with a book by a man).

Timothy Findley's THE WARS. A really special treatment of WWI and the soldier experience (and its aftermath). This book is practically required reading in Canada but isn't even in print in the US.

angelle said...

i have so many books i love, this is hard. and i feel like i read a lot of things other ppl have read. boohoo.

ishmael by daniel quinn is one of my favorite books ever, but i don't really know if it counts as "fiction". i mean it is, but it's basically a conduit for quinn's ideas of the world and our responsibility as humans to the world. which, btw, blew my little 7th grade mind away when i read it.

um. my favorite war book is the killer angels, but i dont think that's really overlooked...

dammit. there's gotta be something that i've read and loved and no one else has!!! i need to think about this some more.

Jill Myles said...

I never ever hear anyone mention this book: Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. Historical fiction.

I read it thinking it was a fanfiction knockoff of the Last of the Mohicans movie. And true, it has a few of those elements, but it's full of greatness and win. The main character, Elizabeth, is a strong willed 'bluestocking' and is definitely her own person. She runs the story and ultimately sets into action a chain of events in a small town on the frontier by doing what she wants instead of what everyone else wants.

It's a huge doorstopper of a book but it's also utterly breathtaking, and Donati's language is amazing. I've easily read this a dozen times and I'm tempted to read it again this weekend just thinking about it.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

Before I offer up any titles, I wanted to plug the litblog co-op:

Their whole purpose is to offer up titles they feel should be better known and select one as a Read This! title.

They tend to stick to small press and midlist press.

Rachel said...

A book I never hear anyone talk about at all is The Maniac Responsible by Robert Gover (I can't even find a new copy on Amazon to link). It was printed in 1966, so I can't call it a "new" overlooked book. But if you like that kind of 60s gonzo literature with a sinister crime flare and a protagonist who is as funny as he is scary, I can't recommend it enough. It's one of my favorite books, and no one's ever heard of it.

Shameless said...

Oooooooo. I will give this a go on Sunday. Skiing tomorrow! :-)

OrangeDrink said...

Steve Erickson gets no praise. I haven't had a chance to read his 2007 book Zeroville, but I like the premise. Perhaps not as much as the premises for Our Ecstatic Days or The Sea Came in at Midnight, but still good.

Wayne said...

I read "Bearskin to Holly Fork" by Bob Sloan. It was brilliant.

It's HERE.

JessicaG said...

One novel I've absolutely adored this year, and haven't heard mentioned much, is a first novel titled PIECES OF MY SISTER'S LIFE by Elizabeth Joy Arnold. The novel tells the story of identical twins growing up on Block Island, their estrangement as children and eventual reconciliation when one learns the other is dying of ovarian cancer. It was a beautifully written book about the unique bond between twins, and one of those few novels I couldn't put down.

Josephine Damian said...

Any book written by Martin Cruz Smith and Arturo Perez-Reverte - their work is worthy of the best-seller lists, and yet hack genres writers like Patterson get all the glory (and money).

My favorite book of the year is so obscure, it's out of print, but you'll have to wait till I post it on my own blog :-)

Kaytie M. Lee said...

I second Steve Erickson's The Sea Came In at Midnight.

I recommend Marlon James's JOHN CROW'S DEVIL, from Akashic Books. You can read it at its surface as a literary horror story, but getting into the many levels he managed to weave in (mixing my metaphors, sorry) brings out social commentary about the role of religion in communities. It has been the kind of book I think about when I'm not reading it.

Rikki Ducornet's GAZELLE and THE FANMAKER'S INQUISITION are both excellent. She's well known in some circles but deserves much wider readership for her characterizations of women and of historical figures.

Incidentally, I met all three of these authors at various LA Times Festival of Books events.