Fiction opens a vast world of possibilities; anything you imagine can happen here, from flying dragons to talking cars. Around 52% of children and young adults read fiction. Catering to the demand, the number of fiction books is a dime in a dozen.
People often read fiction as a way to escape the hardships of reality. It is a temporary getaway from the day-to-day stressors of life. One of its sub-branch is contemporary fiction, which is set in a relatively modern time with no fantasy elements. Unlike historical fiction, contemporary fiction is a more realistic version of this genre. This comparatively new literary movement contains work from the twentieth century and beyond.
What Is Contemporary Fiction?
This sub-genre mainly focuses on current events and the everyday experiences and feelings of people in the present era. You can find many relevant and relatable themes like relationships, identity issues, and social and personal problems. However, all these problems are discussed from an imaginative perspective rather than factual information. And unlike the prevalent historical or fantasy fiction, where the story is set in a different world, the story usually takes place in the present world. It offers us to look at the world from other people’s perspectives. It also contains casual and informal conversations in regional dialects.
What Are the Most Important Characteristics of Contemporary Fiction?
It Gives the Author the Liberty to Show Their Point of View
Literature is the greatest weapon to expose the unethical social practices taking root in society. Although this factor is nuanced in other genres, contemporary fiction considers it a focal point of writing. A writer can express their social, personal, and political views on the world. Since it reflects an individual’s perspective, many may view it as cynical. It can contradict and oppose the facts and figures proposed by society.
It Is Centered Around Pressing Topics
Current world events greatly inspire contemporary fiction and discuss social and cultural stigmas like religious bias, gender identity, inclusivity, diversity, and inequality. You can find many books written about World War II and current events. Since books are now circulated worldwide, most contemporary fiction addresses global issues.
It Introduces Avant-Garde Narrative Techniques
Contemporary fiction uses unique and innovative ways to present a narrative, such as the avant-garde narrative technique. It revolves around experimental writing styles, challenging syntax, and different plot structures. It usually does not follow the linear pattern of presenting a narrative. Instead, it allows writers to experiment with other forms and languages, omitting certain letters and writing in two tones in the same story.
Highly Influenced by the World War II
World War II revolutionized the themes and subjects in literature and gave birth to contemporary fiction. Writers showcased their renewed sense of realism and human experience as a notable effect of war. These books told stories about the conflict, horrors, and the aftermath of war and the emotional toll it took on the survivors. While contemporary is heavily influenced by its atrocities, another thing that made this genre famous was the depiction of societal changes brought on by the war.
Here Are the Top Most Popular Contemporary Fictions
Now that we know what is contemporary fiction and how it differs from other writing styles, let’s discuss some of the best books of this sub-genre.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Dan Brown is a Harvard symbologist summoned to a Swiss research facility to decode a cryptic message charred in the chest of a physicist killed in cold murder. But he discovers an unimaginable, atrocious vendetta against a Catholic church, schemed by a hundred years old undercover organization, the Illuminati.
He has to save the Vaticans from their deadly vendetta: A powerful time bomb. In this desperate situation, Langdon has only one partner, a beautiful, mysterious scientist, Dr. Vittoria Vetra, in Rome. Together they hunt down the long-forgotten Illuminati lair by dodging through the catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and sealed crypts.
In the Woods by Tana French
The story takes place in the summer of 1984 in the small suburbs of Dublin, where children play in the woods daily. But one day, three children never returned from the silent and dark woods. The police are called, and an investigation takes place, leading to only one child lynched on a tree trunk wearing blood-filled sneakers. But he cannot remember the details of the previous events.
After twenty years, the boy is old enough to become a police officer. A murder of a 12-year-old girl occurs, and he finds himself entangled in its investigation and the secrets behind the previous mystery. He grabs this opportunity to unfold the truth behind his murky past.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
The murder mystery takes place on a cold March night of 1896, when John Schuyler, a New York Times reporter, is called to the East River by his psychologist friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler also known as the Alienist. Standing on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they see the highly mutilated body of a boy who worked in one of Manhattan’s famous brothels.
On the other side, Theodore Roosevelt was a police commissioner who appointed two men, Kreizler and Moore, in a murder investigation. Two shady but intellectual individuals proficient in knowing the matters of the underworld. Joined by Sara Howard, a secretary in the police department and a ferociously brave woman, this unlikely team embarks on a journey to uncover crime and the secrets of twisted minds.
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
This psychological suspense thriller narrates the story of Will Graham, a genius criminal profiler in the FBI who was famous for capturing the notorious and evil serial killer Hannibal Lecter. But his encounters with Lecter sustained him some severe injuries, and he opted for retirement.
Four years later, a serial killer named Tooth Fairy is on the rise; he stalks and murders random families during full moons. Two days after he killed the Leeds family, Agent Jackford, who is Graham’s mentor, pleads with him to assist in this case. Will agrees to help and goes to Lecter to catch the Tooth fairy.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson
It is a mystery thriller that combines love, family sagas, and intrigue into an entertaining novel. Harriet Vanger, the descendant of one of the wealthiest families, disappeared more than 40 years ago. Leaving her uncle devastated, who still hopes to find her. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist aided by the tattooed angry punk prodigy Lisabeth Salander to investigate the tragedy together. As they continue to seek the answers, they are met with hidden corruption and unfathomable iniquity.
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
A suspenseful novel that narrates the story of a citizen who is accused of the gravest of crimes. It depicts a person’s most profound and greatest desires and attraction for a woman. Although she is not his wife, his obsession with her puts everything he loves at stake. This novel shows a shocking world of murder, betrayal, and the depth of the human heart.
Read More: Fiction vs Non fiction literature
Ted’s Tales Is an Easy Pick if You Don’t Want to Read Long Novels
Contemporary fiction does not only include lengthy novels; you can also find a collection of short stories in this genre, like Ted Del Grosso’s new book, Teds Tales—a combination of sci-fi and contemporary short stories inspired by real life.