Two of the best-selling series in modern fiction have used the Pacific Northwest as the setting. Both the Twilight and Fifty Shades series have used the area for their fictional characters to meet and fall in love. Why is this? Perhaps the writers of these series find the concept of isolation in the woods so idyllic that the upper-left corner of the country becomes the prime place for a romance. Maybe the fanciful trysts of these works of fiction will lead to the rise of tourism of young couples on amorous getaways.
And it is in the realm of possibility that more writers will use the Washington/Oregon area as a locale for their fiction after the huge success of these two series. One can only hope, though, that the Northwest will not be pigeonholed as a place for bizarre romances in the wooden landscape. The Pacific Northwest with its temperate climate and natural beauty can suit many stories, regardless of genre. So a list has been compiled to show off some of the greater works of fiction that can be written when using the waterlogged North as a muse.
A New Life
Malamud's longest and most auto-biograpical novel is set in a fictionalized version of Oregon State University. Malamud used the setting to tell the story of a man from New York City who must assimilate into the cultural norms of an Oregon small town in the 1950's. Malamud has been forgotten by many of the literati but his work still holds water as a some of the finest literature to come out of the era.
Desolation Angles was written around the time of Kerouac's most famous novel On the Road but it wasn't published until 1965. The book deals with Kerouac's real life job as a fire look out in Northern Cascades in the 1950's. Large portions of the book are taken straight out of the Kerouac's journals and fictionalizes the lives of many writers from William S. Burroughs to Norman Mailer. The Northwest serves as a place of emotional and spiritual desolation for Kerouac as he ponders Buddhism, art, and life in America.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Sweet, philosophical, and life affirming. This best selling novel by Seattle author Garth Stein gives a exciting and new perspective on what it means to be truly human. The northwest has played a large part in the life of Stein and all of his love and frustrations for the place are poured out in the story of a race car driver named Denny Swift and his dog Enzo.
Another Roadside Attraction
A scathing review of religion, intellectuals, and America. Robbins most well known novel is set in the state of Washington where he has spent the majority of his life in. The work is absurd, metaphysical and endlessly amusing. It is a must read for everyone from the bohemian arts student to the Milwaukee dairy farmer. A novel that can be likened to having a long conversation with an old friend who you haven't seen in years.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital. The cloud covered landscape and cold and damp weather set the atmosphere for the novel. The book was made famous by the film adaption made over a decade latter. Both the film and the novel are regarded as classics of their respective medium.