2013 has been a strange year for fiction. The books haven’t been as good as in previous years, but the boundaries of acceptability have been stretched further than before and many taboos have been broken. Here’s a quick guide to the way literature has confronted difficult subjects in 2013:
EL James made graphic sex more acceptable in mainstream fiction and its inclusion is becoming increasingly common.
The most controversial book of the year has to be Tampa by Alissa Nutting, with its explicit descriptions of a female paedophile preying on teenage boys. It’s hard to see how this genre could be stretched further.
Suicide has been mentioned in fiction for many years, but I haven’t seen it take centre stage to the same extent before.
It also seems that assisted suicide has become an accepted topic and the wonderfully entertaining The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence probably did the best job of tackling the subject in 2013. Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach also brought new dimensions to the argument, successfully showing what a complex and emotive subject it is.
We also saw abortion being tackled more directly than before. My Notorious Life by Kate Manning and Dirty Work by Gabriel Weston both confronted the topic head-on. I read both books together and I recommend doing the same as they compliment each other well.
Mental health is finally being talked about, mainly thanks to a few high-profile celebrities revealing their problems.
It has been mentioned in fiction many times before, but The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait describes depression with such sensitivity and realism. It has definitely brought the topic to a whole new level.
For some reason canabalism also seems to be on the rise. To say which books would spoil things, but several 2013 releases have resulted in one character eating another. This trend looks set to continue in 2014 with Season to Taste by Natalie Young, a book which doesn’t even try to hide the fact that it involves people eating each other!
Have you noticed fiction pushing any other boundaries in 2013?