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Sunday, 3 June 2007

A few unrecognised classics may be among 59 of "The Best Novels You’ve Never Read", a list compiled by New York magazine writer Katie Charles for the 4 June issue. This kind of thing always intrigues me, so I've decided to transcribe the list here more, frankly, for future reference of my own than for yours.

I mean, the best thing to do would be to add them all to my BookMooch wishlist, wouldn't it? I've had some trouble with the wishlist recently, as one book keeps being available, but by the time I've clicked to mooch it, it's gone.

To compile this list, Charles approached the National Book Critics Circle for names of people who could make a recommendation that would possess some gravitas. These "professional critics (and some other writers)" gave their opinions. The winner, who only got two votes, was David Markson, author of The Last Novel and Vanishing Point.

I've added some value to the list by placing entries in alphabetical order. I also added information about the author's provenance. Considering the source of the pundits, it's not surprising that most of these writers (40 of 59) are American.

* Jeffery Renard Allen (American who "earned his PhD in English from the University of Chicago") Rails Under My Back
* Jonathan Ames (American) The Extra Man
* Martin Amis (we all know who he is) Experience
* Ellis Avery (American) The Teahouse Fire

* Calvin Baker (American "born in Chicago and graduated from Amherst College") Dominion
* Jesse Ball (American) Samedi the Deafness
* Russell Banks (American) The Darling
* Jonathan Baumbach (American) On the Way to My Father's Funeral
* Charles Baxter (American) A Relative Stranger
* Madison Smartt Bell (American) Master of the Crossroads
* Judy Budnitz (American who was "born in 1973 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Harvard University, was a fellow at Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and received an MFA in creative writing from New York University in 1998") Nice Big American Baby
* Aldo Buzzi (Italian born in 1910!) Journey to the Land of Flies and Other Travels

* Patrick Chamoiseau (Mexican) Texaco
* Elizabeth Cook Achilles
* John Cornwell (English) Seminary Boy

* Helen Dewitt (American) The Last Samurai
* Geoff Dyer (English) Out of Sheer Rage

* Leslie Epstein (American) San Remo Drive
* Bernardine Evaristo (English/Nigerian) The Emperor's Babe

* Kathleen Finneran (American) The Tender Land: A Family Love Story
* Leon Forrest (African-American) Meteor in the Madhouse
David Fulmer (American) Rampart Street

* Mavis Gallant (Canadian) Varieties of Exile
* C.S. Godshalk (American) Kalimantaan
* Abdulrazak Gurnah ("born in 1948 in Zanzibar, Tanzania") Desertion

* Ron Hansen (American) Mariette in Ecstacy
* Jim Harrison (American) The Road Home
* J. M. Hayes (American) Prairie Gothic
* Robert Hellenga ("grew up in Three Oaks, Michigan") The Fall of A Sparrow
* Andrew Holleran (American) Grief
* Andrew Huebner (American) We Pierce

* Gary Indiana (American) Do Everything in the Dark

* Hari Kunzru (of mixed English and Kashmiri Pandit ancestry) Transmission

* John Lanchester (English) The Debt to Pleasure
* J. Robert Lennon (American) Mailman
* Kelly Link (American) Stranger Things Happen
* Sam Lipsyte (American) Home Land
* Margot Livesey ("born in Perth, Scotland") Banishing Verona

* Javier Marías (Spanish) Dark Back of Time
* John McGahern (Irish) The Lake
* Lydia Millet (American) Oh Pure and Radiant Heart
* Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spanish) Sepharad

* Kem Nunn (American) Tapping the Source

* George Pelecanos (American) Drama City
* Giuseppe Pontiggia (Italian) Born Twice

* Elwood Reid (American) What Salmon Know
* Maggie Robbins ("works as a psychotherapist for adults and children in New York City") Suzie Zeus Gets Organised
* Norman Rush (American) Motals

* James Salter (American) Last Night
* Robert M. Sapolsky (American academic) A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons
* Barbara Seranella (American, now deceased) The Munch Mancini Mystery Series
* Carol Shields (American-born Canadian) Unless
* Ali Smith The Accidental
* Olen Steinhauer (American) The Confession; Liberation Movements

* Curtis White (American) Memories of My Father Watching TV
* Jincy Willett (American) Winner of the National Book Award
* Meg Wolitzer (American) The Wife
* Stephen Wright (American who was "educated at the U.S. Army Intelligence School and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop") The Amalgamation Polka

* Akira Yoshimura (Duh) Shipwrecks

Thanks to Currajah for the heads-up.

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