4 writers who take chances with their novels

Here are four writers who think about fiction, about storytelling, about content and perspective, about structure and sentence composition and diction completely differently from anyone else you’ve ever read. They are writers who were willing to go out on a limb to tell a story from a place and in a way that is utterly unique. The result is not just four truly excellent books but an expansion of what it is possible to do with writing. They made the whole genre bigger. They have tested the limits of their freedom of expression. What do you plan to do with yours?

1. 'Why Did I Ever,' by Mary Robison

In 'Why Did I Ever,' Money – an overly neurotic, thrice-divorced mother of two grown children and one sometimes lost, sometimes found cat named Flower Girl – attempts to keep her life and the lives of her children in moderate working order, while at the same time maintaining her job as a Hollywood script doctor.

But what really matters is the biting, dry, and innovative humor with which this story is told. Plot synopsis is of almost zero use. In her clipped style, not one word is wasted. 'Why Did I Ever' is unspeakably funny. Robison never, not for a second, lets up – and will you be glad. What moves 'Why Did I Ever' from good to brilliant is Robison’s use of well-wrought sarcasm to convey a deeply moving, extremely poignant story. Told in 572 short, terse, highly-stylized sections, Robison controls not just what you read, but how you read it. The result is a book that resonates like a well-tuned instrument.

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