Genderqueer / lesbian fiction?
December 7, 2010 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for good genderqueer and/or lesbian novels, in the vein of Sarah Waters or Malinda Lo.

I loved Tipping the Velvet so very much; it and Ash were possibly the first two romance novels I've ever read where I actually got it. I never really understood the romance genre until I found books written for People Like Me™.

They don't have to be romance novels, although I sure did enjoy those. I also enjoy SF/F, historical fiction, literary fiction, and am willing to try a lot of things. French or English language are both fine.

I've looked at threads like this one and seen a couple interesting ideas, but this is a somewhat different question (not restricted to SF/F) so I figured it was still worth asking. Thanks!
posted by criacow to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Everyone who loves stories about smart, witty women getting it on with each other should read April Sinclair. I have no idea why she's so underrated, because she's awesome.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:09 PM on December 7, 2010

Best answer: If you like Sarah Waters, I think you'll like Emma Donaghue. I've really enjoyed her historicals like "Life Mask" and "The Sealed Letter".
posted by OolooKitty at 6:53 PM on December 7, 2010

The Fires of Bride is about a lady who goes to an island in the Hebrides and gets involved with the local lady doctor/clan chieftain. Also, there are flashbacks to a community of cheerful lesbian nuns. As a teenager, I found this book to be totally. awesome.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 7:53 PM on December 7, 2010

Try Jeanette Winterson, of course!
posted by minervous at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2010

Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books are delightful, if dense, and pansexual - the most recent books (the Naamah ones) are distinctly more girl/girl than the first ones, but I think the earlier ones are stronger novels. They're all entertaining, though.

Kim Harrison's urban fantasy novels (Dead Witch Walking, etc) have a really interesting lesbian almost-relationship (although it's pretty much only implied for the first book or two, if I recall.) They're entertaining enough to be worth it, although it's possible it'll never really materialize and I'll be forced to light the books on fire in the parking lot in protest. Still a couple of intense scenes, though.

Tanya Huff's The Enchantment Emporium has the main character in a long-term, although casual, relationship with a woman (although she ultimately takes a backseat to the straight love interest, the relationship does not end, which is something.) What I've read of Tanya Huff in general has a pretty queer sensibility.

It's pathetic that of the seven hundred plus novels on my shelves, those three are about it. I will be watching this thread with interest.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:23 PM on December 7, 2010

I really liked Emma Donaghue's Stir-Fry, which is a contemporary novel set in Dublin. I hear good things about Slammerkin but historical fiction is hard for me to get into for some reason.
posted by mippy at 3:59 AM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: if you're into sf/fantasy, you might enjoy Larissa Lai's "Salt Fish Girl". "When Fox is a Thousand", her debut novel, also has a queer protagonist.

on a wholly other note, Michelle Tea writes compulsively addictive guilty-pleasure mostly lesbian fiction. "Rent Girl" is fabulous if you're into graphic novels -- it's about her time as a sex worker who's in & out of (dramatic and generally unhealthy but fantastically entertaining) lesbian relationships.

oh! and if you're into graphic novels, then of course Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" is a must-read.
posted by sea change at 10:09 AM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the authors you mentioned but I've been on a huge lesbian fiction kick lately. If this sort of stuff is totally out of your wheelhouse I apologize; I'm not trying to say all lesbian writers are the same or that these recommendations are in any way shape or form romance novels. This is just what I've been reading lately. Feel free to ignore these suggestions, maybe they'll be useful to someone else.

MICHELLE TEA: Totally have to second Sea Change here. Smart, funny, bitter, acerbic riot grrl. Messy fast sloppy true-to-life memoir with only the slightest gloss of fiction; she changes names but doesn't try to make herself come off looking better than she really was. Smeary tattoos, cheap beer, coke in the gay bar bathroom, rough sex.

SARAH SCHULMAN: Gritty novels about impoverished writers, performance artists, and workers of shitty dead end jobs. Tragic love stories and murder mysteries. Heroin addicts, AIDS, black humor, hilarious parodies/homages to modern performance art, making magic out of trash, nodding off on park benches, Kaposi's sarcoma, latex gloves, poetry.

EILEEN MYLES: Pretty much the prototype for Michelle Tea; working class autobiography. She writes like she's telling you her whole life story at once without regard for chronology. I wish I had more to say but a lot of her work is out of print and I'm still trying to track more down.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Many thanks! I've dropped a whole bunch of hold requests at the library. (Michelle Tea, Alison Bechdel, and Jeanette Winterson are three authors I've read and loved, so I know you all have Fine Tastes.) :D I will check out the rest!
posted by criacow at 3:30 PM on December 8, 2010

More from a friend:

"The Elemental Logic series.

Babyji by Abha Dawesar (completely trashy delightful good fun)

Among Other Things I've Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney

Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack

The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson"
posted by restless_nomad at 3:59 PM on December 8, 2010

Ok, I just read Santa Olivia and it was awesome. Now I'm not at all sure why I waiting so long, except that I thought it had werewolves in it and I'm kind of tired of werewolves. There aren't any werewolves, and it's a better book for the lack.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:38 PM on December 13, 2010

I know this thread is old, but I only found it today through restless_nomad's comment in this FPP. I just have to recommend Anomaly by Anne Fleming--it's the story of two sisters (each of whom feels she is an "anomaly" for different reasons) growing up in 1970s Toronto. It's beautifully written and one of my favourite books from the last few years.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:33 PM on June 2, 2011

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