Reading recs for a certain catharsis
July 26, 2023 5:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm going through a big catharsis now and releasing a lot of huge emotions. There are books I've found to be faithful companions during times like this. I'd like to read more of them. Details within!

My favorite catharsis titles are "A Stone Woman" by A.S.Byatt and "The Seas" by Samantha Hunt.

I've already read most of the work of female slipstream writers like Kelly Link, Aimee Bender, Amelia Gray, and Helen Oyeyemi.

My qualifications:

Fiction (short or long)
Female author
No social justice commentary, wars, or alien planet settings
Doesn't require looking up antiquated terms.
Can be realistic or slipstream, but no full on magical realism

What ticks the boxes? Thanks!
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Lauren Groff! Florida would be my first choice given your criteria, but I don't think you could go wrong with her. I really want to recommend Matrix for the emotional catharsis angle but worry it violates your no war/no magical realism provisions (but it's not too heavy on either).

Mona Awad's Bunny is just about the perfect novel, in my view. Lots of catharsis!

Possibly not what you're looking for, but I find Virginia Woolf's The Waves to be very moving.

To throw out a few other names - have you tried Helen Phillips, Marilynne Robinson, Hiroko Oyamada, Karen Russell, Lydia Millet, Heidi Julavits, Sayaka Murata, AM Homes, or Maggie Nelson (Bluets!!)? They all feel like they're within shouting distance of Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi, but I have to admit that I'm not totally sure I get what you're looking for so may be off base here.
posted by snaw at 5:27 PM on July 26, 2023 [2 favorites]

River by Esther Kinsky
posted by niicholas at 5:29 PM on July 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Hannah Lillith Assadi, The Stars Are Not Yet Bells
Samantha Silva, Love and Fury
J.R. Thorp, Learwife
posted by paper scissors sock at 7:46 PM on July 26, 2023

All of Lorrie Moore's stuff is great and likely to be just what you're looking for, I would guess. Also Lydia Davis! And I'd also like to second Maggie Nelson, she is amazing, and Bluets in particular is so fascinating and affecting.

(Just to give my qualifications in answering here, I also love all the authors you mention in your question. Amelia Gray was a guest on my radio show once years & years ago, in fact.)
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2023

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