Contemporary Authors as Adjectives


Today marks the release of George Orwell’s Diaries , the influential writer’s personal writings from the years 1931 to 1949, published for the first time in the United States. Orwell is one of those writers who is so infused in our collective imagination and culture that his name has become its own adjective: “Orwellian” is used to describe a totalitarian government or situation similar to the one in 1984. Like Kafka, whose “Kafkaesque,” has come to mean not only “like Kafka’s writing” but also the more disconnected “marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity,” Orwell’s namesake will probably continue to evolve, becoming a term one understands even without reading a word of his writing. But what about more modern writers? After the jump, we’ve speculated on a few (tongue-in-cheek, mind you) definitions for the adjective-ized versions of contemporary authors — sure, some of their names don’t exactly lend themselves to common adjectival endings, but that’s okay. The English language is ever evolving. And in that spirit, we challenge you to play our game and make up your own in the comments!

(Haruki) Murakamiesque

Marked by dream-like surreality and communal alienation. Also, containing many cats.

(Michael) Chabonish

The quality of pondering Jewish fatherhood and one’s own deep nostalgia.

(Junot) Díazian

Containing a copious amount of creative Spanglish.

(Sheila) Hetian

1. Of unclear or fluid basis in reality, and/or commentary on such. 2. Of or pertaining to graphic blowjob scenes.

(Gary) Shteyngartian

As pertaining to schlubby, awkward, and often self-deprecating dudes.

(George R.R.) Martinesque

1. The quality of anyone being able to die at any time. 2. Characterized by long stretches of narrative wandering.

(Jonathan) Franzenian

1. Sprawling and complex, usually as pertains to a family epic. 2. Characterized by a dislike for modern technology and/or general peevishness

(Mark Z.) Danielewskian

Characterized by inconsistencies and experimental presentation.

(Margaret) Atwoodish

Pertaining to speculative fiction, and absolutely not to science fiction, because there are no spaceships.

(Bret Easton) Ellisian

1. Marked by the recounting of horrible things in utter deadpan. 2. Fueled by cocaine.

(Cormac) McCarthian

Marked by abject and crushing, but rather lyrical, bleakness.

(Suzanne) Collinsian

1. Having wildly colored hair and skin. 2. Marked by children killing each other.

(Karen) Russellesque

Of a twee and swampy disposition.

(Rajesh) Parameswaranish

Characterized by passionate jungle animals.

(Kelly) Linkian

Of or pertaining to events that seem impossibly strange and strangely normal at the same time.

(Teju) Colian

Marked by a lot of aimless wandering and thinking about things.

(Cheryl) Strayedian

Characterized by an almost painful openness.

(Salman) Rushdian

Likely to invoke nationwide death threats.

(J.K.) Rowlingesque

Rife with magical puns.

(Don) DeLilloian

Marked by a strong sense of nothingness, displacement, dislocation and disassociation.

(Philip) Rothian

Of or pertaining to American masturbation.

(Lydia) Davisian

Able to speak volumes in just a few words.

(Neil) Gaimanesque

Highly allusive, particularly in regards to fairy tales and fantasy.

(Augusten) Burroughsesque

Marked by a brutal sense of self-deprecation.

(Jeffrey) Eugenidesian

As pertaining to the distressed sexualities of teenagers.