Thursday, May 11, 2006

What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?

From The New York Times:

Early this year, the Book Review's editor, Sam Tanenhaus, sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify "the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years."

The results? Read on....

The winner:

Toni Morrison

(#8 on BillyBlog)


by Don DeLillo

(#20 on BillyBlog)

Blood Meridian
by Cormac McCarthy

(Never read it, or anything by McCarthy)

Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels
by John Updike

Read Rabbit, Run, but none of the others.

American Pastoral
by Philip Roth

Started it, never finished.


A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole

Started it, never finished. It's my friend Rebecca's favorite book.

by Marilynne Robinson

Never read it, although I am about to embark on her second book, Gilead.

Winter's Tale
by Mark Helprin

Did not read.

White Noise
by Don DeLillo

Read it, loved it, but not as much as Underworld.

The Counterlife
by Philip Roth

Didn't read.

by Don DeLillo

Didn't read.

Where I'm Calling From
by Raymond Carver

Read, excellent.

The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien

Did not read. Have only read his great Vietnam novel In the Lake of the Woods.

by Norman Rush

Did not read.

Jesus' Son
by Denis Johnson

Didn't read.

Operation Shylock
by Philip Roth

Didn't read.

Independence Day
by Richard Ford

Didn't read, but enjoyed the prequel, The Sportswriter.

Sabbath's Theater
by Philip Roth

One of my favorite Roth books, definitely top 30.

Border Trilogy
by Cormac McCarthy

Never read.

The Human Stain
by Philip Roth

Didn't read.

The Known World
by Edward P. Jones

Didn't read.

The Plot Against America
by Philip Roth

Read recently, see here.

Thanks to Jill for recommending this as blogworthy. These books definitely go on the must read list (along with all the others).


Anonymous said...

Hey...thanks for posting this. Interesting, no? In any event, I did the same analysis of the list. I've read about the same number as you have, albeit different books.

You must read "The Human Stain" by Phillip Roth. It's fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised by how many of his books were nominated.

Another fantastic Tim O'Brien book..."Going After Cacciato." Give that one a go as well. It's very, very good.

Finally, give "Confederacy of Dunces" another shot. I loved that book.

Anyway, that's my humble two cents...

Anonymous said...

I am also suprised you never finished COnfederacy of Dunces. Read it at the same time I read Catcher in the Rye. Liked it more than Catcher. Had more substance. You should try it again.