I've read a WHOLE bunch of lesbian fiction in the last year, and I can't think of anything else to write about, so I'm just gonna list some and whether they suck or not. It should probably be noted that I am not into contemporary fiction overall (aw, but you knew that), so if it's a set-in-modern-times book it's already got one strike against it. Also because this is a minority genre, the pool of authors is already small, so the amount of good lesbian fiction is going to be WAY SMALLER than for other genres. Except for like, fiction for hermaphroditic Polynesians. Those people are fucked.
An Emergence of Green - The back of this says "From the moment she meets Val Hunter, Carolyn Blake's married life begins to unravel until she is torn apart by erotic depths she can neither resist nor control." Erotic depths, people. I mean, it's set in 1984, and not in a fun Orwellian way. More a "we're going to wear hilarious clothing seriously" way. And it's very "Bored housewife coming to terms with who she really is," but FOR THE TIME that was not as clichey as now. My main issue with it was the husband is SO EVIL. Damn you, men and your manly manness. But for lesbian novels from the mid-'80s set in California, this is the best I've read.
The Haunting of Hill House - This was on a list of gay novels and IT IS SO NOT GAY. Or rather, it's kinda sorta gay for the '50s. Which is not very gay at all. I don't do well with subtext. I don't get that two ladies are into each other unless the book is like "AND THEN THEY WERE MAKING OUT AND TOTALLY INTO EACH OTHER. AND ALSO GAY." So thanks for the veiled allusions, Shirley Jackson. I didn't get any of them.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - I cannot stand Jeanette Winterson. As an author. I'm sure she's AWESOME as a person and probably bakes cookies for her friends when they're having a bad day and housesits and doesn't ask for anything but instead BAKES MORE COOKIES for when you come home. But this book? Jeanette Winterson is the Queen of Vague Writing and General Subtextery. Meaning for this whole novel, I was going "Wait, is she 12? 18? Is she saying she likes ladies? OMG WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE NEIGHBOR ARE THEY HAVING SEX GOOD LORD I HOPE SHE ISN'T 12."
Kissing the Witch - These are interwoven fairytales that've been kinda redone by Emma Donoghue, who is a badass at writing. I'm on my fourth book of hers and this one is STILL my favorite (the others I've read are Landing, which is contemporary and not amazing but not bad, Slammerkin, which I super-enjoyed but is not gay and not as good as this [not because of the not-gay thing], and I've started Room, which I am WAY not into).
Tipping the Velvet - This is like the Holy Grail of lesbian novels. Sarah Waters is SUPER-smart AND writes about Victorian England. She said the purpose behind TtV was to show different types of Victorian lesbian relationships, and man, she succeeds. Because the heroine, Nan, is all OVER the place and probably gets like 50 diseases, but they are tastefully not mentioned. And Flo is in it, and Flo is awesome. Kitty is also awesome, but more in a bitchy way that destroys your life.
Fingersmith - (feel free to snicker at the title) This is pretty heavily influenced by The Woman in White, so I'm glad I read it before WiW, because otherwise I might've been all indignant instead of "OMG SO MANY TWISTS." It's got an insane asylum featured, and who DOESN'T love Victorian novels about insane asylums?
Affinity - Remember when I was all "I'm reading a Victorian lesbian ghost novel" and it was awesome because that's the best cocktail party sentence ever, only then it's not because it's not that lesbiany, but the movie TOTALLY IS and should be watched? The book's ok.
|*cue sexytime music*|
The Color Purple - I mean, this whole book is kind of painful but awesome? I didn't think about the lesbian part too much, because whenever that came up I remembered that Alice Walker had been in a relationship with Tracy Chapman and then I'd start wondering if Tracy Chapman sang "Give Me One Reason" to her and then I was like "She probably sang other songs; that's just the only one you know, so this is really you displaying your terrible musical knowledge." Then I'd have to figure out where I was again. But this is REALLY good and REALLY sad.
I want to mention there's a kind of amazing series called Elite Operatives, which is way trashy but STILL amazing, because it's all like, lesbian assassins falling in love with their targets who are super-sexy reporters. I might've only read part of one, but I assume they all have the same plot.
And therein ends my knowledge, with the exception of some other '80s and YA novels. And who wants to hear about those? NOBODY BUT MY JOURNAL.