I’m defining literary fiction here as the genre of self-consciously serious fiction that’s coalesced relatively recently — so more or less in the last 30-40-50 years I guess, maybe a little earlier. John Barth and John Updike would count, Hemingway or Mark Twain not so much.

Anyway, it’s a genre I tend to be very skeptical about; most of the fiction I admire post-1950 is sci-fi or comics or something that isn’t literary fiction. But there are a couple exceptions. Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy was great, and I enjoyed Confederacy of Dunces. And I really loved Ian McEwan’s Atonement, which I read recently (when I worked on the Shmoop study guide).

So…what lit fic do you like? Or/and, what lit fic would you recommend to a lit fic skeptic?

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