99 Novels: The Best In English Since 1939: A Personal Choice

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Publication Date
Published 1984 by Allison & Busby
Original Title of the Book
99 Novels: The Best in English Since 1939
Number of Pages
160

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gave it

The list, for those interested: Burgess 's list of the best 99 novels published in English from 1939 to 1984Achebe, Chinua- A Man of the People- ( 1966) Aldiss, Brian- Life in the est ( 1980) Amis, Kingsley- Lucky Jim ( 1954) Amis, Kingsley- The Anti-Death League ( 1966) Baldwin, James- Another Country ( 1962) Ballard, J.G.

- Facial Justice ( 1960) Heller, Joseph- Catch-22 ( 1961) Hemingway, Ernest- For Whom the Bell Tolls ( 1940) Hemingway, Ernest- Old Man and the Sea ( 1952) Hoban, Russell- Riddley Walker ( 1980) Hughes, Richard- The Fox in the Attic ( 1961) Huxley, Aldous- After Many a Summer ( 1939) Huxley, Aldous- Ape and Essence ( 1948) Huxley, Aldous- Island ( 1962) Isherwood, Christopher- A Single Man ( 1964) Johnson, Pamela Hansford- An Error of Judgement ( 1962) Jong, Erica- How to Save Your Own Life ( 1977) Joyce, James- Finnegans Wake ( 1939) Lessing, Doris- The Golden Notebook ( 1962) Lodge, David- How Far Can You Go?

( 1980) Lowry, Malcolm- Under the Volcano ( 1947) MacInnes, Colin- The London Novels ( 1957) Mailer, Norman- The Naked and the Dead ( 1948) Mailer, Norman- Ancient Evenings ( 1983) Malamud, Bernard- The Assistant ( 1957) Malamud, Bernard- Dubin 's Lives ( 1979) Manning, Olivia- The Balkans Trilogy ( 1960) Maugham, Somerset- The Razor 's Edge ( 1944) McCarthy, Mary- The Groves of Academe ( 1952) Moore, Brian- The Doctor 's Wife ( 1976) Murdoch, Iris- The Bell ( 1958) Nabokov, Vladimir- Pale Fire ( 1962) Nabokov, Vladimir- The Defence ( 1964) Naipaul, V.S.

gave it

Burgess selects a bunch of his favourite novels from between 1939 and 1984, the end-date set largely because of the federatio of the ear with Orwell 's book of that name.

The autobiograph is subtitled a personal choice and that 's what we get, though in passages where Burgess reflects on his selections, he often justifies his choices as the best novel a particular author has written rather than relying solely on his own references.

gave it

[ ... And ] I do know that we carry a scale of values whereby we know that Anna Karenina is a great boo and The Carpetbaggers an inferior one, and that our standards have something to do with the management of language and concern with the human personality.

Sometimes the management of language will be so remarkable that we will be prepared to forgive the lack of human interest; sometimes character interest will condone verbal and structural incompetence.

Looking at the book now, and my little self-congratulating checkmarks next to the boo from back then, I have to smile at those that sailed under my radar all these ears, and which I have still yet to read ( Alasdair Gray, Flann O'Brien, Alexander Theroux ...), those whom I immediately embraced with perhaps excessive enthusiasm—but which were the perfect writers for the younger me ( David Lodge, Robertson Davies, Salinger, Murdoch, Maugham ...), and those who deserve more than a re-read ( Joyce, Styron, Bellow—not to mention Burgess himself).

gave it

Some excellent choices, of course, and it has prompted me to read a dozen or so books which I had n't heard of beforehand.

gave it

A few are surprising: Raymond Chandler, Ian Mcdonald, Len Deighton ( the war novel Bomber), Herman Wouk ( The Caine Mutiny, a durable and perhaps underrated sea classic) .It 's a good sampler of books that people of a particula age may have read and appreciated, or missed and might want to visit.

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