The Rough Guide to Cult Fiction: Women’s Edition

I’ve gone through the 2005 edition of The Rough Guide to Cult Fiction and written down all of the books written by European women, for my own future reading, and thought I’d share it here. This seems like it would be a fantastic list for an angsty adolescence.

This includes both the “essential” and “further reading” books listed. I counted slightly under 600 books listed in the book total.


  1. Fifty Stories by Kay Boyle
  2. Monday Night by Kay Boyle
  3. The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
  4. Martian Quest: The Early Brackett by Leigh Brackett
  5. You Can’t Catch Death by Ianthe Brautigan
  6. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
  7. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  8. Several Perceptions by Angela Carter
  9. Wise Children by Angela Carter
  10. Off the Road by Carolyn Cassady
  11. Claudine series by Colette
  12. The Pure and Impure by Colette
  13. The Vagabond by Colette
  14. Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
  15. Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame
  16. Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskill
  17. Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill
  18. The Unlit Lamp by Radclyffe Hall
  19. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  20. The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith
  21. The Ripliad series by Patricia Highsmith
  22. The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith
  23. In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
  24. Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes
  25. Fair Play by Tove Jansson
  26. Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
  27. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  28. Ice by Anna Kavan
  29. Sleep Has His House by Anna Kavan
  30. Now That You’re Back by A.L. Kennedy
  31. Original Bliss by A.L. Kennedy
  32. The Hainish Cycle series by Ursula K. Le Guin
  33. In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: The Myth and Reality of Lewis Carroll by Karoline Leach
  34. Jirel of Joiry by C.L. Moore
  35. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  36. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  37. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
  38. Berg by Ann Quin
  39. Three by Ann Quin
  40. Tripticks by Ann Quin
  41. Quartet by Jean Rhys
  42. Smile Please by Jean Rhys
  43. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  44. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice
  45. The Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice
  46. Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery series by Dorothy L. Sayers
  47. Celine and the Politics of Difference by Rosemarie Scullion et al.

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