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Greatest Novel of All-Time

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by EStreetJoe, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I still love Catcher. I read it a month ago for the first time in a few years and probably the fourth overall. It's mesmerizing, the perfect encapsulation of American youth. I never read it in high school, which I think heightened my enjoyment. I don't think I would have realized how funny and over the top it all was as a teenager.
  2. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    There are people who legitimately don't like Catcher, and then there are those who want to slag it in response to everything else in Salinger's bio.

    I think it's brilliant, myself.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Huff Post: It's a Mr. Steinbeck on the line. He sounds, well, fairly wrathful.
  4. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    What's interesting to me about Catcher, is how you can read it when you're young and take Holden at his word - then read it again when you're older and realize he's the most unreliable narrator in fiction.
  5. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    Just so.

    It's a completely different novel. It all MAKES SENSE when you're a teenage boy -- and I do admit, it might have a gender split that takes it out of the running for, perhaps, greatest novel of all time.

    Also of note, the dialogue rings true, even though I certainly don't know if it is true to how people of the time/place talked.

    And then you read it again, later, and realize he's lying through his teeth the whole time -- but that they're lies of necessity, to protect his already damaged psyche, and that the awfulness -- much like the best Hemingway novels -- is what is never truly spoken.

    Anyway, I generally read it once a year. Still haven't tired of that.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Have you read The Virgin Suicides? It's another style entirely but may be Catcher's top contender as the perfect book about American adolescence.
  7. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    I have not, though it is on my admittedly much-too-long list.
  8. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Still, Moby Dick is one of our defining novels.

    Pulitzer aside, I'm not sure Mockingbird was even the best American novel in the year it was published. Rabbit, Run and The Sot-Weed Factor both came out that year as well.
  9. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    I've often thought we need a designation for novels of historical and defining importance that are, simply, unreadable. We could put Moby Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin and the entirety of Willa Cather in there, to start.

    I might have just started a fight with the board's Willa Cather fan. I remain unmoved.
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Are we novel-bashing? I think I could outwrite Charles Dickens.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Moby Dick
    is readable, but it takes maybe 60 pages for the novel to teach you how to read it. That's a slog, especially in those awful, small-print public domain paperback editions. Find a nice large print hardcover and you'll be surprised at the change.
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Don't laugh. It isn't Catcher in the Rye, but another good one is "Rule of the Bone," by Russell Banks.
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