Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TOP TEN NOVELS you must read before you croak!





10. THE OUTSIDER 1942
by Albert Camus

Man’s untiring yearning to find reasons behind every action is the thought fluttering at the heart of this quintessential French novel that deals with themes of absurdism and nihilism with panache. This cold and compelling work depicted in clean prose (bereft of embellishments) raises a lot of philosophical questions, primarily surrounding existentialism.

9. SAVAGE DETECTIVES 1998
by Roberto Bolano

The highlight of Bolano’s polyphonic novel is the montage of more than fifty voices that takes forward the story sweeping through a riddling canvas spread across 20 odd years. The great technical quality aside, the book remarkably travels along a blurry line that separates literature from life. It’s about pursuit, it’s about alienation, it’s about poetry and poets, and it’s also about Mexico City.

8. KA 1996
by Roberto Calasso

Ka is as much magnificently complex as it is shockingly sensual. A complex network of stories within stories set in the world of Hindu myths and legends, this is probably the only book in this list that doesn’t fall strictly within the form and structure of a novel, but is a truly extraordinary work that fuses bright imagination and smart scholarship attempting to take us through what seems to be an endless exploration of a spellbinding world.

7. METAMORPHOSIS 1915
by Franz Kafka

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." (And he’s not kidding!) The book is as promising and bizarre as this first sentence. No wonder many writers who succeeded Kafka found inspirations in this one. Greatly written, this landmark book tackles the way man approaches change and the way he treats who are different. One genius of a book!


6. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE 1951
by J.D. Salinger

This modern classic is a truly poignant portrayal of adolescence. Even while surfing through numerous laugh-out-loud moments, J.D. Salinger’s brilliant novel addresses serious themes like teenage angst, isolation and rebellion. Prolific use of profanity and its directness towards sex must have made this book the most censored book in high schools for more than twenty years but it is still the best that deals with coming of age.

5. THE SOUND AND THE FURY 1929
by William Faulkner

This is the most overwhelming novel in this list. The reek of decay is omnipresent through the entire length of this tragedy that presents the decline of a family and the disintegration thereof. Faulkner’s non-linear interweaving construction technique of this complex discourse of the novel is masterful and it calls for the undivided attention of the reader while at it.

4. MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN 1980
by Salman Rushdie

Midnight’s Children is eccentric, wicked and mesmerizing at the same time. It is constructed along the tumultuous recovery of the post independent India. There is no book that addresses the enormous cultural identity of the Indian subcontinent more vividly than this one. The book literally smells of masala and its dense language shoulders a cunning narrative sprawling in scope and fantastical in energy. 

3. GRAPES OF WRATH 1938
by John Steinbeck

This phenomenal realist novel set during the Great Depression has the power to make every reader at least a degree more compassionate towards human condition and dignity. With some deeply evolved characters Steinbeck’s epic moves you and more often than not, leaves a lumpy throat. It is the best work by one of the master story tellers. One thing to watch out for in the writing would be the earthy southern accent.

2. ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE 1967
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The web of life and events in the tantalizing world called Macondo in this magically crafted novel is filled with intricacies that push the limits of one’s beliefs over the edge. The series of events, surrounding seven generations of the Buendia Family is hypnotizing. The book is amazingly imaginative, startlingly twisted and greatly witty. No doubt, this penultimate pick got the gifted Columbian writer his Nobel.

1. THE TIN DRUM 1959
by Gunter Grass

…And the beast right on top roars over the post war Danzig through the eyes of a willful gnome who refuses to grow physically at the age of three. Grass’ masterpiece defies syntax of language and stands free as a unique strong voice that we are only delighted to meet. One of the very important books to be read from the twentieth century, The Tin Drum is unsurpassed in its beauty and sting of originality with all its magical dynamics. It’s recommended that you read the translation by Breon Mitchell.

1 comment:

  1. I like your list but I would have added a few more...
    God of small things
    Feast of the goat
    To kill a mocking bird

    ReplyDelete

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