Four Female Writers You’ve Probably Overlooked
Expand your literary horizons this International Women’s Day with books you don’t know but will undoubtedly love.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because we have no idea how these fantastic reads have remained under the radar.
We know — you’re used to clicking on these links hoping for something new only to have someone tell you to read Beloved or The Handmaid’s Tale. None of the books we’re about to share with you have been made into TV shows, and you’ve more than likely never even heard of them, much less read them. But one of the great things about International Women’s Day is having an excuse and reminder to delve past not just the men of the literary canon, but also the women who’ve made it onto high school curricula.
The oeuvre of Buchi Emecheta, a Nigerian writer who died in 2017, spanned more than 20 books and included novels, kids books and an autobiography. But one of her least appreciated is Double Yoke, a 1982 book that presaged the #MeToo movement with its examination of sexual harassment and toxic masculinity in Nigeria’s most august institutions.
But this is a millennial blockbuster waiting to happen.
Whether you know Marcela Serrano’s work might depend on whether you speak Spanish: She’s been winning prizes in Chile since the early ’90s but didn’t get translated into English until 2011’s Ten Women. Which, appropriately for today, is about listening to women. It melds the stories of nine women who share the same therapist (who’s the 10th woman!) into a book that functions almost as short stories and a novel at once, achieving both the quick satisfaction of the former and the slow-burn greatness of the latter.
This. Book. Is. So. Good. OK, it was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2004, but it didn’t win, and do you even know what the Edgar Awards are? (It’s a mystery.) Anyway, this Japanese detective novel by the oh-so-underrated Natsuo Kirino (a pen name! mysterious!) will absolutely knock your socks off with its suspenseful journey of a young mom who gets mixed up in a crime and ends up tangling with the Yakuza.
Love, Stars, and All That
Kirin Narayan wrote only one novel, and as it’s 25 years old, at this point it’s hardly on anybody’s radar. But this is a millennial blockbuster waiting to happen: a romance set in academia starring a woman of color and prominently featuring astrology. This is the kind of book you devour in a single lengthy bath and then text your group chat about.