Stoner Novel: An Old, New Genre
There is a new literary genre out there. It’s name is stoner novel. It brings together a lot of authors and books, all of which have something in common: our beloved marijuana, which somehow plays a part in the stories of the characters. The genre is now entering what seems to be its golden age. In part, this is due to the fact that cannabis is slowly (actually, not so slowly) becoming legal across the United States. Many cannabis lovers can now even buy high quality seeds online (http://greenhouseseeds.nl/) and grow their own plants. This is incredible. Plus, people – even those who do not necessarily smoke – are becoming more and more curious about the plant, its effect and its nature. It looks like old stereotypes and pseudo-knowledge are not enough anymore: this is great news, absolutely!
But what is a “stoner novel” anyway? A classic example, often mentioned by blogs and experts all over the world, is Wonder Boys, which was written in 1995 by Michael Chabon. The book is the story of Grady Tripp, a literature professor who spends seven years to write his masterpiece. As he does so, Grady tries to run away from many difficult decisions, even from reality itself, and marijuana helps him find the courage to conquer his dream. The author pushes the reader to think differently, as if he was high. This is something that stoner novels do: they all force you to perceive the world through the lenses of a person who smokes cannabis. Quite a mind-opening experience, let me assure you that.
Another example is Chronic City, written in 2009 by Jonathan Lethan. The novel talks about Chase, who is a very unreliable narrator. Of course, he is a cannabis lover, and the book is a journey through his “alternative”world. As a matter of fact, the authors who belong to this genre seem to be completely in love with the idea of describing how far people can go, how different the world can be, when our consciousness is conquered by the effects of the magic THC.
Interestingly enough, stoner novels are known also for the way in which they portray drug dealers, who often are key characters in their stories. From this perspective, the genre can be considered a new neo realism, where lives and struggles are represented without the judgmental and moral layers that too often characterize drug-dealing-action movies and novels.
If you’ve never done so, you should really look into it!