Help Nancy Pearl Name a New Genre

Nancy Pearl requests her listeners assistance on her most recent edition of NPR Pearl’s Picks “Under the Radar”

“I only recently realized that many of the works of fiction that I most enjoy are those that push genre boundaries. I especially like fiction that is mostly realistic, but every once in a while zigs confidently into fantasy. We tend to call such works “magical realism” when they’re written by South American or Indian or Latin American writers — think Jorge Luis Borges’ short stories, Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, or Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. But in fact, these great works are being written by authors of all countries. Since the books themselves can be mainstream fiction, mysteries, Westerns or fantasy (or any mixture thereof), I’d love to come up with a one- or two- or possibly three-word label for such works that captures their essence (something other than “unclassifiable”), but so far I’ve drawn a blank. Anyone care to help? Have at it — I’ll give you some examples of books that fit what I have in mind — Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker, Under Heaven or The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke — and you find the best descriptor. Okay? You can send me your suggestions at [email protected].”