Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Times' Best 60 Novels of the past 60 Years

The times has published The best 60 books of the past 60 years to celebrate the Cheltenham Literary festival anniversary.

It begins with George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, and ends with The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. In between, you see lots of really good novels. But how is it that each year has produced only one good novel?

While I'm glad that Boris Pasternek, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, J.M. Coetzee and many other worthy writers are there in the list, I'm shocked Salman Rushdie, Gunter Grass, Jose Saramago and Aleksandr Solshenitzyn don't figure at all. Shame, this omission!I knew they would not include Elfride Zelinek.

And a word about the titles. Why Love at the time of Cholera in stead of One Hundred Years of Solitude? They could include both the titles.

And if you think A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is worth it, how can you not include Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things?.

However, I admire this passage from Erica Wagner's introduction.

There will never be a single list, however, of “the 60 best novels of the past 60 years”; you can’t please all of the people all of the time. For what you love to read depends on who you are; what made you read it; where you were when you first discovered a book; who pressed it into your hand; what mood you were in the day you turned the first page; whether the scent of the pages reminded you of libraries past.

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