I came across two novels written in verse, or Verse Novels, recently; The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan and Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel by David Rakoff. I instantly found this genre rather fascinating. These novels are written in verse; some rhyming, most do not, but most have a certain rhythmic lyrical quality to them.
Academics find it difficult to place the verse novel in a definitive genre, claiming it to be a new form of writing all by itself. They resist considering the contemporary verse novels akin to the epics like The Iliad and The Gilgamesh, despite obvious similarities that both types combine a narrative event (or story) with poetry, over an extended length. Assuming the academics are right to consider verse novels a new genre, we notice that they are actually quite new to the book scene, only gaining popularity in the recent decades. More surprisingly, most of them reside in the Youth/ Young Adult category. Perhaps it is an attempt to interest young readers in poetry, or perhaps writing in verse can express emotions in a way more suited to the Youth today (see: song lyrics).
For those of us who are used to reading prose novels, this new genre can pose quite a challenge structurally. Nonetheless they can be interesting to explore and read. Here are some titles worth checking out:
Far From You
Lies, knives and girls in red dress
One of those hideous books where the mother dies
Because I am furniture
The realm of possibility
Contributed by Lo Wan Ni, Central Public Library