Monday, October 09, 2006

Best Novel of the Last 25 Years

I somehow missed this back in May when the NY Times Bookreview ran the story. They don't do a ranking system, just a flat-out who got the most votes, with runners up and honorable mentions.

The reason I mention this at all is because the Guardian (UK) just released its own pick for the best novel in the last 25 years. They rank theirs based on total votes and provide some info on the top books.

I've read several of the books on both lists (back when I still read fiction), but I really have no opinion on the winners. I will mention that I think the NY Times winner was very good, but not that great.

I'll post the top picks from the NY Times list first, then the top picks from the Guardian's list. You'll have to look at the articles to see the whole lists.



Toni Morrison (1987)



Don DeLillo (1997)

Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy (1985)

Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels

John Updike (1995)

American Pastoral

Philip Roth (1997)

And here is the Guardian list:

First place

Disgrace (1999)
JM Coetzee

Coetzee became the first writer to win the Booker Prize for a second time with this exploration of post- apartheid South Africa, which centres on Professor David Lurie, in self-imposed exile at his daughter's remote farm after an ill-advised affair with a student.

Second place

Money (1984)
Martin Amis

Super-charged, anarchic and full of narrative acrobatics, Money burst on to the Eighties literary scene leaving a trail of imitators and devotees in its wake, not least because of its formidable, if frequently repulsive narrator, ad director John Self .

Joint third place

Earthly Powers (1980)
Anthony Burgess

Homosexual writer Keith Toomey is asked to write the memoirs of the late Pope Gregory XVII - a commission that takes him on a whirlwind recap of the major events of the 20th century.

Atonement (2001)
Ian McEwan

Opening in 1935 , Atonement focuses on Briony Tallis , at first as a 13-year-old implicated in the conviction of a family friend for rape and, latterly, an elderly novelist on the brink of losing her memory.

The Blue Flower (1995)
Penelope Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald's final novel is frequently cited as her masterpiece. It recreates the life of the 18th-century German poet and philosopher Novalis , focusing on his romance with a 12-year-old girl .

The Unconsoled (1995)
Kazuo Ishiguro

Ishiguro's intricate, dream-like fourth novel marked a radical departure from the more conventional narratives of his earlier work, evoking the great European masters of film as much as fiction.

Midnight's Children (1981)
Salman Rushdie

Rushdie's second novel not only won the Booker prize but was also awarded the 'Booker of Bookers' in 1993. It unites powerful subject matter - the partition of India - with a dazzling, playful style.

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