CHALLENGING BUT ULTIMATELY REWARDING CONTEMPORARY FICTION CENTERED AROUND WOMEN

Inspired by @teo and her list of list ideas. Bring the suggestions!
  1. After Birth by Elisa Albert
    An unflinching story of new motherhood and friendship. In the author's own words: "I want to imagine a world in which we become mothers with huge, layered webs of stories and poems supporting and...empowering us....We have a vast and "important" literature of war, the life-or-death experiences of boys becoming men within the framework of that rite of passage. But birth has for so long been shrouded in secrecy, shame and silence, all of which are profoundly harmful."
  2. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
    a journal written by a Japanese teenager washes into the hands of a woman in Canada. time bends.
    Suggested by   @boygirlparty
  3. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
    A lyrical, almost poetic, story of Japanese picture brides immigrating to the U.S. In the early 1900s. I think it might have changed my writing forever.
    Suggested by   @bookishclaire
  4. The Girls From Corona del Mar
    By Rufi Thorpe. It's a friendship story that looks at how complicated, random and yet influential friendships can be. Especially the early ones and not always for the best. Really terrific.
    Suggested by   @margosita
  5. Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
    About a couple in California that's been decimated by a drought and largely evacuated. Gorgeously written, with lots about motherhood and love and purpose and devotion and it was just so good.
    Suggested by   @victoriaedel
  6. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obrecht
    The story of a young woman and her relationship with her grandfather - intermingled with the myths he told from the village where he grew up, which start to feel more and more true... Not insanely challenging but very rewarding.
    Suggested by   @maya
  7. Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
    One hell of a cool novel about a young woman artist and the shitty men in her life.
    Suggested by   @josh
  8. Valparaiso Round the Horn by Madeline ffitch
    I'm not sure if this is necessarily challenging but it is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Short story collection concerned with normal days/ people that become strange and surreal. Every story features women who amaze me.
    Suggested by   @aesthetic
  9. Beloved by Toni Morrison
    No matter how many times I read this novel it will always make me cry and I will always feel like I missed something. Upside is I feel like I gain better understanding with each read
    Suggested by   @femme_brewer