Posted on 08 January 2010.
“Cult fiction” is a difficult term to define. Often, cult fiction books contain bilge enough to make even the bravest to cringe. However, books that change people’s philosophy and life can also become cult classics. One thing is for sure – a cult fiction book is not forgotten with time. Here are the top ten cult fiction bestsellers arranged by their publishing year:
1. The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by JD Salinger
The main protagonist of the novel Holden Caulfield became an iconic figure for the teenage rebellion after the book was published. The narrative follows Caufield’s stay and experiences in New York city after he elopes from fictional city of Aferstown, Pennsylvania.
2. The Alexandria Quartet – a series of four books (1957-60) by Lawrence Durrell
This is a series of four books: Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea. Each book provides a different perspective about the same event that happened before, during and after World War II. In Durrell’s own words, the novels are an exploration of relativity, continuum and subject-object relation; the subject being modern love.
3. Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller
A satirical and historical novel, Catch 22 actually introduced the ‘catch-22′ dilemma to the world. The novel is set during the later part of the World War II. The distinguishing thing about this novel is that there is no chronological sequence to the story as such. The time-line becomes apparent only from character’s point of view at different events.
4. The Bell Jar (1963) by Sylvia Plath
A semi-autobiographical story about a woman suffering from a mental disorder at a time when only little was known about mental disorders and shock-therapy was still in use for troubled people. The story revolves around a young woman who arrives in New York for working opportunities. The woman is a talented writer but succumbs to her mental illness.
5. Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut
The author is a comic sage who has survived firebombings of Dresden as well as many tragedies in the family and defined a whole new genre: science-fiction satire. It is an anti-war novel belonging about World War II experiences and time-travel experiences of a soldier – Billy Pilgrim.