Sunday, September 16, 2007

This Week's Moratorium

Okay, no more of this kind of title, please:

The Alchemist's Daughter
The Mortician's Daughter
The Communist's Daughter
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Gravedigger's Daughter
The Hummingbird's Daughter
The Bonesetter's Daughter
The Admiral's Daughter
The Mistress's Daughter


The Time Traveler's Wife
The Pilot's Wife
The Spy's Wife
The Kitchen God's Wife
The Mapmaker's Wife
The Doctor's Wife
The Saddlemaker's Wife
The Traitor's Wife
The Zookeeper's Wife

See? Too many. And these are just the most recent or most popular results coughed up by my Amazon search. Were one to dig into publisher's backlists, there might be more, though this does strike me as a relatively newish phenomenon.

But why is "The Intriguing Identity's Female Subordinate" such a popular title? A search for similarly constructed titles with "son" or "husband" comes up with nothing. Well... women are the target audience for most "literary" fiction (though a couple of the books listed are nonfiction -- there should be a new genre called "bookgrouption"), so maybe this is just a way of advertising that a book has a woman as its main character. What's so appealing about a character who's defined by someone else, though?

Interesting side note: while cruising through Amazon looking for titles with the word wife in them, I was surprised to discover a motherlode of books on how to be a better wife, most of which recommend "surrendering" to one's husband. It is very creepy to think how many women out there believe that we are just plain old inferior to men, and that, moreover, we must accept our inferiority if we're ever to experience happiness. I'll say it again: CREEPY!!!!


Trevor said...

Michael Chabon was ahead of the curve it seems: Wonder Boys' Grady Tripp's last good effort? "The Arsonist's Daughter."

Man, some of those titles are really lame: The Doctor's Wife? Why not The Lawyer's Wife? The Actuary's Wife. The Dry Cleaner's Daughter. Ooh, horror show: I Married a Bailbondsman. The Realtor's Daughter. Wife of the Liquor Store Owner. I could do this all day.

5 Red Pandas said...

I was gossiping with my sister the other day and we came to a conclusion about a woman in our neighborhood that she must be very scary, if she's scarier than her drug dealing son. Hence a new trend in the making:

The Drug Dealer's Mama

the individual voice said...

Don't forget the old Married to the Mob, which was meant to be funny. Odd how all the husband's in the title are rather mundane, but the fathers are creepy powerful. It's been 25 years since the feminist movement. Can these possibly all be campy? If not, there has got to be a market for campy. I love The Drug Dealer's Mama. I wouldn't even know which of trevor's to choose. Campy, campy, campy, campy.

Pete said...

Guess I'll have to ditch the working title of my novel in progress, "The Daughter's Wife."

Burl Veneer said...

I came across an example of this type of title this morning in the latest Edward R. Hamilton catalog: The Genealogist's Computer Companion. Alas, it is not a novel but a reference book.