What is it?
Characteristics of literary fiction generally include one or more of the following:
1- a concern with social commentary, political criticism, or reflection on the human condition.
2- a focus on "introspective, in-depth character studies" of "interesting, complex and developed" characters, whose "inner stories" drive the plot, with detailed motivations to elicit "emotional involvement" in the reader.
3- a character-centric work (here in a pejorative sense) and, even, portraiture at the expense of any substantive plot. Philip Hensher's The Fit regularly tops lists of the books held to feature beautifully deconstructed characters who do nothing very beautifully. 4- a slower pace than popular fiction. As Terrence Rafferty notes, "literary fiction, by its nature, allows itself to dawdle, to linger on stray beauties even at the risk of losing its way".