If you haven’t already heard, there is a baby being raised in Toronto, named Storm, whose parents have decided not to reveal the child’s gender to anyone. Inevitably this has caused quite the stir.
Of course it has; it brings up the old question of whether gender is socially constructed or biological. Do boys really gravitate to blue? Are women only interested in Chick Flicks? Must there be guns and bloodshed to keep men interested?
When the writing is good enough, we hope, the people will read, no matter their gender. Frankenstein was created by a woman, as was Howard Roark, the towering symbol of manhood in Ayn Rand’s always readable The Fountainhead. Conversely, Jeffrey Eugenides, in his Pulitzer Prize winning second novel, Middlesex, wrote seemingly effortlessly about a hermaphrodite.
We like to think we’ve gotten over this, and yet even when classically male types of action stories like the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker turn out to be directed by a woman (Kathryn Bigelow), this still comes as a surprise to many. To be sure, the marketing people behind these movies generally believe—and probably for good reason—that boys usually like stories about war and girls are inclined toward tales that end in a wedding.
In lieu of Father’s Day then, and bowing to the realities of a gender divide that, whatever your opinion, looks to be sticking around, what follows are a selection of male authors so careful in the words they set down, so effective with brevity and intensity, so adept in not overtly showing emotion, but yet drawing it so powerfully from their readers, that they are surely selections that will not only be great picks for dad, but also for any reader of great fiction.
Continue here to read that list.