Saturday, May 13, 2006

My literary 2 cents

So what is the best American fiction work of the last 25 years?
A bunch of smartypants decided it was Toni Morrison's Beloved. I read it in college and didn't like it then. Too florid for my taste. I guess I should give it another chance.
My own favorite is Libra, by Don DeLillo. Underworld, which is the runner up, I could not finish. So sue me. White Noise, another disturbing, premonitory DeLillo gem is also on the list. You go, Don!
Phillip Roth's got six novels on the list. Has he won the Nobel Prize yet? because he's looking more and more like a contender. I really liked Operation Shylock but I confess that American Pastoral was a huge yawn to me. If the list was for over 25 years, I would nominate Portnoy's Complaint, The Catcher in the Rye, The Stories of John Cheever, among others. (Like someone would ask me, but see, that's what this blog is for).
Cormac McCarthy got a bunch of them too (I'm not into cowboys), and so did John Updike. I read some of the Rabbit books when I was a teenager and liked them.
And why 25 and not 30 years ago? So that Phillip Roth couldn't have more books in there? Some of the books on the list were written years before they were published, like the great Confederacy of Dunces, and some titles in the Updike collection. Is that fair?
This is the problem with lists.

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