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"Chick lit"

Related: romantic love - romance novel - love story - escapist fiction - genre - genre fiction - popular fiction - women's fiction - women's magazines

Bridget Jones's Diary (1996) - Helen Fielding [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Contrast: "lad lit"


"Chick lit" is a slightly uncomplimentary term used to denote popular fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single young women in their 20s, working in the business world. It was spurred on (if not exactly created) in the mid-1990s by the appearance of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and Melissa Banks's The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing. The genre continued to sell well in the 2000s, with The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Krause and The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger topping bestseller lists.

The genre tends to feature lonely young women in urban settings, often working in the publishing industry; it may also be considered a subdivision of the romance genre. The favored style is hip, stylish, bold, self-analytical, and slightly irreverent. Sexuality may be a primary or secondary theme but is always present, and often is presented as adventuresome, as in Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City and the television series it spawned.

Several publishing houses now have imprints or divisions dedicated to fostering and marketing works of this sort. "Chick lit" has also been claimed as a type of "postfeminist" fiction, perhaps in an attempt to rehabilitate its literary reputation.

Beyond the obvious source of the term ("chick" being slang for a young woman), it also includes a derivative reference to "Chiclet" brand chewing gum, with the implication that the reader is likely to be the sort of clichéd and nonintellectual female who chews gum and avoids "serious literature".

The male equivalent has sometimes been referred to as dick lit (Ben Elton, Mike Gayle, Nick Hornby et al.). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_lit [Jun 2005]

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a Toronto, Ontario-based company that is the world's leading publisher of series romance and women's fiction. Owned by the Torstar Corporation, the largest newspaper publisher in Canada, the company publishes nearly 110 new titles each month in 27 different languages.

Harlequin was founded in 1949 by publishing executive Richard Bonnycastle and started out publishing a wide range of books from Westerns to Romances to cookbooks. In 1957 Harlequin began acquiring the rights to, and publishing, novels from Mills & Boon. Due to the huge popularity of this genre, by 1964 the company was exclusively publishing romance fiction and in 1971 it purchased Mills & Boon, forming Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited in the UK.

The company has continued to evolve over the years, expanding with offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Milan, Sydney, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Athens, Budapest, Granges-Pacot and Warsaw, as well as licensing agreements in nine other countries. It has also expanded its range of books, offering everything from thrillers and commercial literary fiction under the MIRA imprint; Bridget Jones style 'chick lit' under its Red Dress Ink imprint; fantasy books under the LUNA imprint; and inspirational fiction published under the name Steeple Hill and Steeple Hill Café; male action adventure books under Gold Eagle imprint. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_Enterprises_Ltd [Aug 2006]

Brass (2004) - Helen Walsh

Brass (2004) - Helen Walsh [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Along with recent noteworthy debuts from Bella Bathurst (Special) and Jardine Libaire (Here Kitty Kitty), this novel is part of an emerging subgenre that might be called chick-lit noir. Its antiheroines are motivated—if you can call it that—by a creeping anomie and low-grade nihilism. If these girls have any ambitions at all, they are emotional abnegation, deranged sexual pleasures and/or chemical obliteration. Walsh's 19-year-old Millie could be the poster child for the subgenre as she bombs around her native Liverpool, lusting after barely adolescent girls and packing her head with booze and blow. Precocious, petulant, middle-class Millie has been "thick as thieves" with a posse of thuggish working-class guys since she was barely a teenager. But her best friend Jamie's increasing commitment to his fiancée has created a "big dilating chasm" between them and has exacerbated Millie's tendency toward self-destructive behavior. Haunted by her perceived loss of Jamie and the painful memory of her estranged mother, "the savage and gradual build-up of [years of] filth and deceit" finally catches up with her and sends her spiraling into depravity. Millie's caustic commentary on the electro-charged sexual and intellectual power of postadolescent women heralds the arrival of a promising new voice from the darker fringes of antigirlhood. --via Amazon.com

See also: chick lit - noir

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