Monday, May 15, 2006

Best American novel of last 25 years?

Easy, of course: Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. This sprang to mind because I realized the other day it's been 26 years since it first came out. Voting for Wolfe is not necessarily a comment on the past quarter-decade.

If you don't agree, you can petulantly head on over to the NYTimes Book Review's answer. I'm surprised how many I've read, since I don't read books. Beloved is indeed stunning. I tried more Morrison, and never found anything quite as effective. If you like history, and baseball, DeLillo's Underworld is quite marvellous. Anything by Cormac McCarthy uses words in ways that hurt your head in good ways; I like Blood Meridian less than All the Pretty Horses. So much Phillip Roth! Okay. But as for Updike, I don't do him. Spare me. I haven't tried any Rabbit, but the ones I've tried have hurt my head in bad ways. They almost turned me off novels.

A friend just recommended Flaubert's Sentimental Education. Digging into that now.

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