Read these philosophical fiction books with substance

Tiberius Marks

Crimson Chronicle Reporter

The genre of Young Adult is disproportionately targeted towards teenagers, but many have found the genre lacking in substance. For those who want alternatives to the same Young Adult romance story that has been done over and over,  here are some of my personal favorite novels.

Japanese I-novel, “Schoolgirl,” by Osamu Dazai

  • Length: 87 pages
  • Plot: The novel follows an unnamed protagonist who details her day in the style of a journal. The story doesn’t have the usual twists or big events or really any of the big factors that push people into reading a book, instead it’s just this girl’s day.  Her thoughts, her feelings, her interactions with the people around her is what makes up this book. It’s a realism that’s so rarely captured.
  • Author: Dazai is one of the most prolific authors from Japan, this novel was one of Dazai’s biggest publications. Dazai is one of the only artists who has been able to capture the sense of pure beautiful individualism in his art where most authors write for the sake of the reader instead his writing feels purely for himself. At times it could feel as if the books he wrote weren’t truly fiction and instead sections of a journal, this novella being one of the best examples of this. Dazai in this novella takes on themes like, death, culture, time, the death of individuality, hopelessness, family, and so much more in a beautifully tragic style that is so common to his works.

Philosophical novel, “Picture of Dorian Gray,” by Oscar Wilde 

  • Length: 288 pages
  • Plot: The novel follows young British Aristocrat Dorian Gray. To describe the story would be to give it away; instead it’s best to go in blind. A better way to understand the book is to understand the themes which exist within the novel. The book is mainly a philosophical text which through it’s story tackles ideas such as beauty, art’s reflection of the artist, morality, what it means to be good or bad, selfishness and what Wilde puts in the center of his philosophical outlook, individualism.
  • Author: Wilde was a profound thinker in his time and this novel truly shows his genius. While the novel’s depth is apparent and this may frighten some away, “Picture of Dorian Gray” shouldn’t be thought of as a book to read purely to understand. Wilde in the preface to the novel brings up the idea of art being purely for the sake of beauty, and while you can read the novel to understand it, you can and in my opinion should at least put before anything else read it to experience the beauty of the novel. Wilde has a unique style that highlights the magnificence of whatever he’s describing, this creates a breathtaking experience in reading this novel. 

Fiction novel, “Convenience Store Woman,” By Sayaka Murata

  • Length: 160 pages 
  • Plot: The novel follows Keiko Furukura, a woman who throughout her life never could exist normally along with the people around her. Her inability to fit in caused her to assimilate completely into her surroundings destroying all the ownness that existed within her. This led her to take a job at a convenience store at the age of eighteen and this job became her in a way. The novel tackles topics such as normalcy, capitalism and relationships which highlights the utter despair of them while being able to portray them within the rose tinted glasses that they are usually seen through. The novel turns what is usually seen as triumphant into nothing more than a saddening whimper, destroying what you would think a story such as this would be. 
  • Author: Murata’s writing is something to behold. She’s a unique case in writing where it truly feels like the author understands the time they are writing in. In her writing themes such as non-conformity in a time where conformity is a requirement, asexuality in a society that doesn’t understand or accept it, how post-modern capitalism utterly shapes the worker. Her writing at times is reminiscent of before mentioned Osamu Dazai who in his time was also heralded for his understanding of the time he was writing in. 

1 thought on “Read these philosophical fiction books with substance

  1. I’m gonna add all of these to my to-read list right now! I really like other works by Osamu Dazai so I look forward to reading this one too.

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