The list author says: "These are my favorite novels about lesbians, the books whose stories have stayed with me, metaphorically and literally (well, when the books haven¬ít been whisked off by friends). I created this list for fans of lesbian literary fiction because too often only the most high profile names (e.g. Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson, Michelle Tea) are familiar ones, and the existing lists tend to focus on lesbian romances. I hope someone enjoys some of these novels as much as I have!"
"During the 1968 Olympics, a female athlete is called upon to make a decision that will affect the rest of her life. A sympathetic, brilliantly structured novel about the different lives¬ógay and straight¬óthe same woman can lead."
"In this highly entertaining novel, the messy personal life of a charismatic author of self-help books is about to implode, taking her, her new manager, her ex-husband, and a jilted female lover with her. Or will it?"
"Set in Toronto, this vibrant and poetic novel is about a group of young people¬óblack, Vietnamese, gay, straight, male, and female¬óstruggling to escape their family ties and create new connections with each other."
"This novel is a bit of a juggling act: it¬ís a funny novel about sad things. A film projectionist is haunted by her dead ex-lover and trying to sort out her life with the help of an annoying roommate and a beautiful femme."
"Hard to believe the author of cat mysteries once wrote such a sexually edgy coming of age novel! This is compulsively readable storytelling featuring a poor Southern tomboy who breaks rules and hearts."
"Set in India amidst the constraints of family and caste, the protagonist, a precocious young student, tries to apply physics to her relationships with three different women: a servant, a classmate, and a MILF. Clever and irresistible."
"Set in Toronto in the 70s and 80s, this wise and funny novel is told in four voices: an elderly Girl Guide leader obsessed with her war time experiences, a conflicted mother, and her two daughters, a socially awkward albino, and a popular girl who turns out to be a lesbian."
"A woman who works at her father¬ís convenience store in a small town has resigned herself to an uneventful life until a fast talking female trucker comes along to turn it upside down. This is a warm, charming, yet atypical novel about first love."
"Opposites attract at an eating disorder clinic: an anorexic woman who denies herself everything meets a bulimic female whose appetite for food, sex, and craziness is unquenchable. Smart and compassionate."
"Set at the turn of the century, a widow reflects upon her unconventional marriage to a brilliant composer, and the passion she discovers with the serene nurse who tends to her dying husband. Beautiful, dark, and odd."
"In this fast paced and amusing tale, a young woman moves to California and gets a job at a second-hand car dealership in Los Angeles, a city where everyone is trying to trade up. A co-worker tries to sell the protagonist on heterosexuality while she pursues a beautiful straight girl."
"In this hilarious memoir that reads like a novel, King recounts her eccentric Southern family, her grandmother¬ís attempts to mold her into a perfect lady, and her college sexual explorations with a woman in Mississippi during the 50s."
"This sensuous and lyrical novel shifts between the lives of four women: a pair of opium-addicted prostitutes living in Singapore at the turn of the century, and a mother and her lesbian daughter who are coping with the suicide of the man who was husband to one and father to the other."
"Set in nineteenth century China and a futuristic Pacific Northwest, this original novel is both an examination of biotechnology and a tale of love between an ageless female shape-shifter and a young woman who reeks of durian fruit."
"This novel is an absurd and whimsical portrait of a mother-daughter relationship that stands in the way of the daughter¬ís search for lesbian romance. Gives new meaning to the expression ¬ĎMama¬ís Girl.¬í"
"An upper middle class teenage girl leaves her abusive family for the horse show circuit where she encounters dope, unscrupulous trainers, and women who can¬ít seem to tell the difference between love and pain. Possibly the most disturbing novel I¬íve ever read, but I¬íve never forgotten it."
"In this deliciously ironic tale, Francesco, a 20-year-old poet who has a firm grip on both angst and manipulation, follows her heart to San Francisco where she waitresses and navigates the complicated waters of open relationships."
"If you can get past the cover, this is a wonderful story of a young, working class butch in 1960s New York whose rigid role-playing and sexual repression is challenged by a hippie femme and a Puerto Rican woman who, in different ways, transgress the rules of their subculture."
"Riveting account of a young woman¬ís life and her love affair with another woman during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In that fascist climate, survival inevitably involved betrayal, yet the protagonist makes a bid for freedom."
"In this dark and haunting novel about the nature of perception, history, fantasy, and reality collide in a Cuban-American family. As the lesbian protagonist tries to expose the lies her lover and her family tell themselves, she discovers she, too, is capable of collusion and denial, of being a perpetrator as well as a victim."
"In this subtle and ironic novel, a lesbian looks back on the secrets of her past in Montreal in the late 60s and early 70s, when she hung out with a group of Jewish adolescents who were strangely bound together by their shared experience of being the children of Holocaust survivors."
"Two Indian women living in South Africa in the 1950s gradually find themselves defying the strictures of their conventional Indian community. The pace is not quick, but the heroines are warm and appealing."
"A black adolescent girl in Chicago in the late 60s navigates the pressure to lose her virginity with the risks involved in having sex. Complicating everything is her crush on the white school nurse. A sweet story!"
"Set in a one day period, but what a day: the teenage heroine lands her first job, gets fired, tries crystal meth, has sex for the first time (with a girl), and even solves a mystery. Tea perfectly nails white trash families, suburban malls, and teenage mean girls."
"An epislatory novel of two sisters who flee from an abusive home¬óone becomes a missionary in Africa, the other a child bride to a man in love with another woman whom she also comes to love. This book has big, serious themes (race, class, gender, sexuality, and colonialism), yet is a page-turner."