Friday 10 January 2020

Three first rate novels since 2000

Although genius is almost extinct in The West, this is not yet wholly the case; and in some fields there are still first rate works emerging. One is novels (by contrast with poetry and drama). I don't read many modern novels, but have discovered three that seem to me first rate of their kind.

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, 2005.

I've gone-on about this wonderful book considerably on this blog already; but it is both original in concept and superb in its execution.  It is my favourite among these three, by far; and one of the very best books I have ever read.

2. Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes (translated by Jamie Bulloch), 2012.

This is a novel concerning Hitler coming back to life in modern Germany. The novel, and a film version, had immense success/ caused immense scandal in Germany. Again, the basic idea is very original, the execution masterly; and the book achieves an un-classifiable, un-pigeon-hole-able blend of humour, and several kinds of seriousness - that I have never seen adequately summarised. An unique flavour.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir, 2015.

You will all know about this one. It is the hardest of hard SciFi - so 'hard' that the science is barely fiction; and also a very enjoyable and exciting story - an instant classic of its genre.

Looking at the three books, all were first novels by unknowns, coming somewhat 'out of the blue' - and confirming that our official Western culture is moribund while life remains around the edges.

But it is very encouraging to see confirmed that the scope for creativity remains wide-open; and real originality (that is not merely novelty, subversion or inversion) remains achievable in practice... so long as there are people who have ability, motivation and character to do honest and genuine work.

In an expanding divine creation; there will always be more things to say and do; things worth saying and doing.



dearieme said...

I like Wolf Hall.

ST Chapman said...

I recommend Tito Perdue