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10 Novels you should read in 2024: Or Before you die!

It's the end of 2023 and we are going to plan our next year. For those looking to add reading more books to their 2024 , I'm here to offer some book recommendations.

Well I love transgressive fiction. If you've been with me on this blog for long, you already knew that. I was reading an article and I found out that there are some subgenres to trasngressive fiction, anything existantialist, feminist, weird. Transgressive fiction, if you don't know and you're new here is known for its focus on characters, themes, and narratives that go against societal norms, encompasses various subgenres, each with its unique focus and style.

Here are 10 subgenres:

  1. Erotic Transgression: This subgenre explores themes of sexuality and desire in ways that challenge conventional moral and social boundaries. Works often delve into taboo subjects like BDSM, fetishism, and unconventional sexual practices. Examples include Story of O by Pauline Réage.

  2. Psychological Transgression: These narratives delve deep into the human psyche, exploring mental illness, existential crises, and abnormal psychology. They often feature unreliable narrators or protagonists with complex, sometimes disturbing, inner lives. Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground is a classic example.

  3. Social Transgression: This type focuses on characters and stories that challenge societal norms, including class structures, gender roles, and cultural expectations. It often critiques the status quo and highlights societal flaws. "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk is a well-known example.

  4. Political Transgression: These works engage with political themes, often critiquing established systems, ideologies, and power structures. They can be dystopian, satirical, or directly confrontational in their approach. "1984" by George Orwell and "Submission" by Michel Houellebecq fall into this category.

  5. Gothic Transgression: Combining elements of horror and romanticism, this subgenre explores transgression through the lens of the gothic, often featuring dark, eerie settings, and a sense of foreboding. It can include elements of supernatural and the macabre. Angela Carter's works often blend gothic with feminist transgression.

  6. Satirical Transgression: Utilizing humor, irony, and exaggeration, this subgenre critiques and mocks societal norms, politics, and cultural absurdities. It often aims to provoke thought by presenting exaggerated scenarios or characters. "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis can be seen as a satirical take on consumerism and superficiality.

  7. Criminal Transgression: Centering around characters who engage in criminal or morally ambiguous activities, this subgenre explores the darker side of human nature and the fringes of society. It often questions the nature of morality and law. "Trainspotting" by Irvine Welsh is an example.

  8. Philosophical Transgression: These narratives are characterized by their exploration of philosophical ideas and ethical dilemmas, often challenging traditional moral and philosophical thought. They can be introspective and thought-provoking. "Nausea" by Jean-Paul Sartre is a notable example.

Now, here's a list of 10 novels you should read them before you die if not in 2024:

1."All Men Are Mortal" by Simone de Beauvoir: A profound exploration of existential themes, this novel delves into the concept of immortality and its implications on human life.

Brief: When Fosca, an immortal man, crosses paths with an aspiring actress, he shares his story, revealing a life where endless years have led to a profound sense of existential disillusionment. This novel weaves a tale of immortality's curse, where eternal life becomes an eternal prison, questioning the very essence of human existence.

  • Genre: Philosophical Fiction

  • Themes: Mortality, Existentialism, the Meaning of Life

  • Characters: The immortal protagonist, Fosca, and his various encounters across centuries.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Philosophical transgression, challenging existential and moral norms.

2. "Tender Is the Flesh" by Agustina Bazterrica (translated from Spanish): A disturbing yet compelling dystopian novel that critiques our current society through the lens of a future where human meat is commercially farmed.

Brief: In a horrifying future where animals are extinct and humans are bred for consumption, Marcos finds himself working in a meat processing plant. As he navigates this dystopian world, he faces the ultimate moral question: how far can humanity go in its quest for survival? This novel is a chilling critique of our current society, pushing the boundaries of the unthinkable.

  • Genre: Dystopian Fiction

  • Themes: Cannibalism, Dehumanization, Ethics

  • Characters: Marcos, a worker in a human meat processing plant, grappling with moral dilemmas.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Social transgression, critiquing contemporary societal norms and ethics.

3. "Notes from Underground" by Fyodor Dostoevsky: This classic piece of existential literature presents a deep dive into the human psyche and the irrational side of human nature.

Brief: Dive into the mind of a man living in isolation beneath St. Petersburg, a man who rejects societal norms and rationality. Through a series of rambling and introspective notes, he reveals his contempt for modern society. This groundbreaking novel delves deep into themes of free will, alienation, and the human condition.

  • Genre: Existential Fiction

  • Themes: Free Will, Alienation, Rationality vs. Irrationality

  • Characters: The unnamed narrator, a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Psychological transgression, exploring the irrational side of human nature.

4. "Beautiful You" by Chuck Palahniuk: Known for his transgressive fiction, Palahniuk's novel is a satirical take on consumer culture, technology, and sexuality.

Brief: In a world dominated by consumerism, a sinister corporation has developed a line of products that promise women unparalleled sexual pleasure but at a high cost. Penny finds herself caught in this plot, leading her on a bizarre journey of self-discovery and rebellion against a society obsessed with control and perfection.

  • Genre: Satirical Fiction

  • Themes: Consumerism, Technology, Sexuality

  • Characters: Penny, a woman caught up in a consumerist plot involving extreme sexual products.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Satirical transgression, critiquing consumer culture and societal norms.

5. "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn: This novel is a unique and bizarre tale about a carnival family who purposely create their own sideshow of human oddities.

Brief: The Binewskis, a carnival family, resort to drastic genetic experiments to create their own freak show, resulting in a saga of love, rivalry, and bizarre beauty. This novel is a profound exploration of the notions of beauty, normality, and the bonds that hold a family together in the most unusual circumstances.

  • Genre: Contemporary Fiction

  • Themes: Freakishness, Family Dynamics, Exploitation

  • Characters: The Binewski family, a traveling carnival family who create their own sideshow.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Familial and societal transgression, challenging norms of beauty and family.

6. "The 120 Days of Sodom" by Marquis de Sade: A notorious work known for its graphic and explicit exploration of violent and sexual fantasies.

Brief: In a remote castle, four wealthy libertines embark on an orgy of sexual brutality and depravity with their captive victims. This notorious novel is a shocking exploration of the darkest depths of human desire and the corrupting influence of power and lust.

  • Genre: Erotic Fiction

  • Themes: Sadism, Sexual Violence, Power

  • Characters: Four wealthy libertines who indulge in extreme sexual and violent fantasies.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Erotic transgression, pushing boundaries of sexual norms and morality.

7. "Story of O" by Pauline Réage: A controversial novel that delves into themes of BDSM and submission, exploring the depths of sexual desire and power dynamics.

Brief: O, a Parisian fashion photographer, enters a world of submission and domination at the behest of her lover. This erotic tale delves into the depths of desire, power, and the blurred lines of consent, challenging conventional norms of sexuality and relationships.

  • Genre: Erotic Fiction

  • Themes: BDSM, Submission, Power Dynamics

  • Characters: O, a fashion photographer who enters a world of submission.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Erotic transgression, exploring themes of dominance, submission, and consent.

8. "The Idiot" by Fyodor Dostoevsky: Another masterpiece by Dostoevsky, this novel is a profound exploration of innocence, love, and the complexities of human nature.

Brief: Prince Myshkin, a man of pure innocence, returns to Russia from a Swiss sanatorium and finds himself entangled in a web of love, betrayal, and societal intrigue. This novel is a profound exploration of the clash between goodness and the dark complexities of Russian high society.

  • Genre: Literary Fiction

  • Themes: Innocence, Love, Social Class

  • Characters: Prince Myshkin, a nobleman with a pure heart, and other Russian society members.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Social and philosophical transgression, challenging norms of social class and human behavior.

9. "The Belly of Paris" (Le Ventre de Paris) by Émile Zola: Part of Zola's Rougon-Macquart series, this novel paints a vivid picture of life in the Les Halles marketplace in Paris, exploring themes of class and social structure.

Brief: Set against the backdrop of the bustling Les Halles market in Paris, this novel tells the story of the struggling working class amidst the excesses of the bourgeoisie. Zola masterfully portrays the hunger, both literal and metaphorical, that drives the human spirit in a rapidly modernizing world.

  • Genre: Literary Fiction

  • Themes: Class Struggle, Urban Life, Injustice

  • Characters: The denizens of Les Halles marketplace in Paris.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Social transgression, critiquing class structures and societal disparities.

10. "Submission" by Michel Houellebecq: A controversial and satirical novel that imagines a future France under an Islamic government, exploring themes of religion, politics, and culture.

Brief: In a future France, an Islamic party comes to power, and François, a middle-aged academic, must navigate this new society. This provocative novel explores the intersections of religion, politics, and culture, presenting a startling vision of a future that questions the very foundations of Western society.

  • Genre: Political Fiction

  • Themes: Religion, Politics, Cultural Shifts

  • Characters: François, a middle-aged academic, in a future France under Islamic rule.

  • Sub-genre of Transgressive Fiction: Political and social transgression, exploring themes of religion and political change.

After writing this article, I noticed I have an obsession with French literature. Possibly because many of them are transgressive. In the next post I'll recommend top 10 classic french transgressive novels and maybe I'll follow up with top 10 modern french transgressive novels. I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what is your reading plan for next year?

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