Sunday, October 08, 2006

The best novel of the last 25 years is...

The Observer has asked 150 writers for their best novel in English (excluding Americans, how very Booker!) since 1980. "Disgrace" by Coetzee is a good winner, (though his early "Life and Times of Michael K is surely the more adventurous book) and with Amis's "Money" second, and Burgess's "Earthly Powers" third, I can't really complain about the list. Fascinating that Ishiguro's least loved novel, "The Unconsoled" makes the list, and a sense of recentness might explain why McEwan's greatest achievement is seen as "Atonement," the most likeable of his novels, but not his best. Alan Warner's "Morvern Callar" and "On the Black Hill" by Bruce Chatwin seem conspicuously absent from the longer list. I'm interested in what the top ten says about what makes a "lasting novel"? History... in the case of McEwan, "Remains of the Day" and Penelope Fitzgerald, big sweep books in Burgess and Rushdie, and, in different ways, the writing in the John McGahern and Martin Amis; and perhaps, a little more nostalgia than is good for us overall.


Dan Flynn said...

I loved Atonement though you wouldn't think that tripe Saturday was written by the same author. Also loved The Remains of the Day. And really loved The Life and Times of Michael K. Plus I love Heinrich Boll's The Life and Times of Katerina Blum. Currently I'm struggling with John Banville's The Sea but am roaring ahead with Nicole Krauss's The History of Love. And I like anything by China Mieville. Why am I telling you this? Well you started it!

Adrian Slatcher said...

I've not read them all, but my favourite McEwans that I have read are
1. The Innocent
2. Enduring Love
3. Atonement