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The Wonderful Women Novelists

Updated on April 22, 2009

I am partial to women novelists.

Years ago, I discovered that my fiction reading consisted largely of novels by men. Well, Agatha Christie has always been my favourite, but she was one among the few exceptions. I decided to right the imbalance, nay, inequality and set forth in all earnestness. Since then, I have read many of them and the journey through the worlds created by these women novelists has been most delightful. Apart from the style, of which a keen reader can say a lot, these works have revealed so much that I might have likely missed if I had not read them. Points of view, insights and observations on a variety of things and, in particular, about human nature have made me rich beyond measure. I have also felt, in contrast to the works of men, a more purposeful and consistent characterisation, and a more leisurely and measured approach to the actual development of characters.

I would not want to compare my favourite women novelists. Yet, among the ones whom I find most fascinating, the first to come to mind is Anita Shreve. To me, reading her reaffirmed, beyond a shadow of doubt, that there is no greater pleasure than reading a book that is beautiful in many ways. Reading a book like, for example, Anita Shreve’s Fortune’s Rocks, is an experience like no other. It is a most soothing activity that can be conducted in solitude and yet, at the same time, a most satisfying spiritual communion between two people, if the reader related to the writer in that way.

Once I knew that I was into an enduring romance, I shed my long-held reluctance to buying works of fiction and my belief that only reference works and suchlike were worth owning. Chancing upon some book sales, I bought a good many at economical prices.

Anita Shreve

Fortune’s Rocks, The Pilot’s Wife, All He Ever Wanted, Sea Glass (all of which I have read), The Weight Of Water, Eden Close, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding In December and Body Surfing (all of which I am eagerly waiting to read)

Maeve Binchy

Circle of Friends, The Copper Beech, Nights of Rain and Stars, Scarlet Feather, Quentins and Tara Road

Among others, I should mention a few notable additions to my library – A Certain Death and A Taste for Death by PD James, and Simisola and The Water’s Lovely by Ruth Rendell.

Well, assuming that I am going to be reading at a good pace, I should not worry for a few months about finding a good book. A large supply is at hand; and a hunt for more not in the too distant future.


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      scheng1 8 years ago

      PD James is very outstanding. Her in-depth understanding of human nature gives soul to her books

    • vaidy19 profile image

      vaidy19 8 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks. Of course, every individual reader has different favourites. Also, each one of us goes about in our own way picking out authors to read, either by instinct or accident, or at times on someone's recommendation. And, very often, when we like a particular novelist, we usually try to read more of her or him. Further, how could we ever find the time to read all those we would love to?

      I have not read Jodi Picoult. Maybe I should try. (Search informs me that Jodi has written quite a few, Handle With Care being the latest, and My Sister's Keeper being the one made as a movie.

      Love and Peace


    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      This is an interesting perspective on women novelists. I also have some favourite women novelists, though not the same as yours. But that's OK isn't it - we are all individual, aren't we?

      My wife particularly likes Jodi Picoult. Have you read any of her books? I read one, can't remember the title, it was about the Amish, rather good I thought.

      Thanks for sharing

      Love and peace


    • vaidy19 profile image

      vaidy19 8 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hello Storytellersrus,

      Thanks for the comment. Well, my Favourite Authors list will always include these women novelists. Instead of saying that I am 'supportive of women novelists', it would be more accurate to say that I am beholden to them for the abundance of pleasure and wisdom that I have derived by reading them. Another point: while it is not necessary to be aware of the gender of the author for a full appreciation of the novel, the reader, male or female, is reminded of the gender of the author, especially when the voice is clearly masculine or feminine, very often deliberately so, and the insight or observation undoubtedly from a man's or woman's perspective. It is perhaps true that the author wants the reader to be constantly aware of whether it is a he or she, although one can't be conclusive about this expectation on the part of the author. About her All He Ever Wanted, Shreve says '"it was surprisingly OK" to write in a man's voice.'

      In this context, this essay might interest you:

      I could not go to your site, is there a problem?



    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Now here is a special man, supportive of women novelists. That is a rare masculine trait and I am in awe. Even if my list of women writers differs, I fully appreciate your commitment. THANK YOU.