Modern Magic: Why We Love to Read Contemporary Fiction

Contemporary fiction has the power to delight and excite readers in new, modern ways. Whether it’s introducing us to a new idea, place or theme, engaging us with awesome heroes or contemptuous villains, there is always something in a classic modern novel that all readers can appreciate.

Modern Magic: Why We Love to Read Contemporary Fiction

With this in mind, we thought we would share with you some of the things we love about the best contemporary fiction US bookstores have available, in the hope that you too will agree that the modern literary era is something to be lauded and not decried in place of its older counterparts:

1. It engages modern themes

The world is a much different place to what it was before the contemporary fiction era, and whilst it’s also wonderful to be thrown back in time with a classic literary piece of the highest calibre, it’s fantastic to engage with a novel that truly reflects where we are as a modern society.

Whether it’s Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, with its searing take on modern isolation; Hanya Yanigihara’s tragic A Little Life, detailing the immense suffering of a New York graduate; or Jennifer Egan’s hyper-modern A Visit from the Goon Squad, written in all its Powerpoint-chaptered glory, the modern novel does not shy away from the taboos of the past, and this is why we love them so…

2. They are highly relatable

For readers young and old, there is always something highly relatable in the modern novel. Whether it’s the place, being somewhere we can relate to whether physically or emotionally; or the theme, something we have experienced and resonate with; or even the setting, perhaps a real-life situation that affected us all, there is always something readers can point to and understand wholly about the modern novel.

There are many modern novels that utilise current themes and important issues in their new classics, including the likes of Elizabeth Acevedo’s Inheritance, Jen Ferguson’s The Summer of Bitter and Sweet, Abdi Nazemian’s The Chandler Legacies and much, much more!

3. They can take us to new places

Let’s face it: pre-2000s literature was western-based. Today, modern novels have the ability to transport us all over the world, to fill our imaginations with places that we may not have known much about prior to picking up that fantastic novel.

Whether it’s a contemporary classic to come out of Japan (think Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman) or an illuminating Indian novel (Mathangi Subramanian’s A People’s History of Heaven is a real gem) or an enriching African historical work (Maaza Mengiste’s Beneath the Lion’s Gaze is a great start), there is always the potential to learn something new about the world around us in a way that is less inhibited than the older literary canon.

4. They inspire our own writing!

If there is any literary era that can and should inspire your own writing it should be modern literature. Why? Because there is a treasure trove of novels written by authors about their own experiences in the modern world (or at least written in modern times about something close to their families).

So, for many other writers, there is nothing that gets them more excited about going to work on their own pieces than that of the contemporary fiction novel. And, we’re sure that if you pick up any of the above-mentioned classics, or any other modern novel that you’ve had your eye on, there’s a chance it might inspire a desire to put your pen to paper (or tips to keys) and create the next modern classic!