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I List My Top 20 Favourite Novels

Personal Stories, Advice, and Support 7 People

    So Who Is My Favourite Novellist?

    Well, the few of you who endured my listing a top 20 faves might be wondering: what sort of writer does this guy get off on? Because Catch 22 is my favourite novel, does that mean Joseph Heller is my favourite writer? Hard to say. Deciding on favourite books - or a list of...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M 1 Response Jul 10, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #14

    The Electrical Experience, by Frank Moorhouse. One of my two favourite Australian writers. He is 10 years my senior, but it is almost like we were young together, him writing, me reading. Him still relatively unknown in those days (albeit published); me dreaming of writing and...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 21, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #2

    Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. The outrageous tale of a 40 year old emigre who falls head over heels besotted with a 12 year old, the eponymous antagonist of the work, seduces her (or more correctly, she seduces him) only to lose her, and eventually his life along with hers. But it...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jul 4, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #6

    Our Lady of the Flowers, by Jean Genet. Here's one for the faggots and those tolerant of faggots. Genet, a homosexual, wrote this work, like most of his other works, from his prison cell. He was a petty thief, housebreaker and the like who spent a large chunk of his life locked...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 30, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #8

    The Flounder, by Gunter Grass. My favourite Grass work, and probably fair to say, the biggest influence of any single book on my subsequent prose writing style. Full of allusion, the tale is based thematically upon the old Grimm fairytale, The Fisherman & His Wife. Back there...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 28, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #4

    Ulysses, by James Joyce. In my humble opinion the greatest novel ever written. So why isn't it my #1? I'll come back to that. To give a clue, I will say first that the most difficult choice of my Top 20 has been whether U is #3 or #4. As you can see, the latter prevailed. To...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M 1 Response Jul 2, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #10

    So, to the Top 10. At # 10, Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut. One of the classic anti-war novels, and a USA classic as well. Vonnegut as a teenager served as an infantry scout in WWII, in Europe, where he was captured by the Germans. In a move of good fortune, his unit was...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 26, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #15

    Cat & Mouse, by Gunter Grass. Germany's greatest novellist, with one of his shorter but unusual and highly original works. Set in his home town of Danzig before and during World War II, it forms part of the so-called Danzig Trilogy, along with The Tin Drum and Dog Years. It...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 20, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #18

    The Sorrow of War, by Bao Ninh. Originally published in 1991 in Vietnamese, under the title Than Phan cua Tinh Yeu, which I would translate as The Destiny of Love. But as you well realise, when any book gets published in English about the American War in Vietnam the publishers...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 15, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #13

    The Glass Canoe, by David Ireland. As with the Moorhouse book previous, this is another work from my student days. And as I mentioned with Moorhouse as well, Ireland is my other favourite Australian novellist. He doesn't seem to write anymore - I'm not even sure if he's still...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 22, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #16

    Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov. Considered by those who know about such things to be one of his two masterpieces - stay tuned to read about the other one. His take on an exiled king of a fictional country named Zembla is a parody of the Russian takeover of the Soviet...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 19, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #19

    Headbirths, by Gunter Grass. A short book, published in the 1990s or so. I have read it now 3 times. It deals with Germany, as all his books do, and the fate of the Germans. But it does this in a fascinating way by comparing Germany to modern China. He imagines what the world...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M 1 Response Jun 14, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #12

    The Story of O, by Pauline Reage. Originally published in French as La Histoire d'O, it ended up being banned in France (and probably in other jurisdictions too.) But all's well now, and it has become something of an erotic classic. Reage's real name was Anne Desclos, a...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 24, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #7

    Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry. Lowry's masterpiece. It's been called many things over the years: greatest novel in English since Ulysses; greatest (symbolically) Christian novel. The tale takes place on one day in Mexico just before WWII, the Day of the Dead. Yvonne, an...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 29, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #3

    Moby-****, or, The Whale, by Hermann Melville. First published in 1851, it is now regarded as one of the keystones of nineteenth century literature. A big rollicking marvellous tale of a young man's adventures at sea aboard a New England whaler bound for the Pacific. His...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M 1 Response Jul 3, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #1

    Ta ta ta ta taaaaa. Ta ta ta ta taaaaaaaa. Attention please laydeeez an gennemuns. Here we go. And top of the pops for Ken izzzzzz... Catch 22, by Joseph Heller. Very few books or works of any art get to render themselves or their title into a culture's lexicon. Catch 22 has...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jul 5, 2012

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    My Top 20

    Clan of the Cave Bear- this is the book that transformed me as a child from an ok reader to a great reader. It is the book that made me want to read more and more. It's also the book that got confiscated the most while I was in school. The girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This book...
    Pebbles1982 Pebbles1982 26-30 2 Responses Aug 27, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #5

    And so, to the Top 5. At # 5, The Lover, by Marguerite Duras. A sensational international best seller, but also critically acclaimed, winning France's most prestigious Prix Goncourt (equivalent to their Pulitzer). The cover notes say this, among other things: disturbing...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jul 1, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #9

    The Book of Laughter & Forgetting, by Milan Kundera. Published in Czech in 1978, it appeared in English in 1980. I bought it soon after. I have read it twice and dipped into it many times. The author has lived in exile in Paris since 1975, when the invading Russians dismissed...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 27, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #17

    Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. The first, and many would argue greatest, modern novel. It set the tone and style for the whole exercise of novel writing: comic, tragic, parodic, wistful, wise, allusory and to some extent, political (in its rail against the silliness of...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 18, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #20

    From Russia With Love, by Ian Fleming. You might ask how does such a yarn, full of cheap humour and a bit corny, make it into what will turn out to be a serious list of good literature? Answer: Fleming could write, and he knew what he was doing. He was writing, as most modern...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M 2 Responses Jun 13, 2012

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    My Top 20 Favourite Novels - #11

    Tristram Shandy, by Laurence Sterne. A novel from the nineteenth century. An English classic. A great rambling wandering tale of an English gentleman's conception, birth, family and early life. It is in essence what used to be called in Australia a shaggy dog story. I have no...
    KenWX KenWX 61-65, M Jun 25, 2012

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