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Greatest Novel of All-Time

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

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    The problem with "Moby Dick" is the pages and pages and pages of whaling minutia early on. Other than that, it's readable.

    Faulkner, of course, wins the award for unreadable at first pass, but ungodly brilliant once you realize what he did. Reading a Faulkner novel, once it clicks, makes every orthodox novelist seem pedestrian by comparison. Truly.
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I love Dickens. Love, love, love Dickens. Never understand why there are some who don't give him the respect he deserves, such as the Great Expectations comment above (was it you?) about it being pulp. Aside from the fact that he was a wonderful writer and a skilled story teller, he wrote tales that captured a time and place and the social dynamics. And he did it as well as anyone ever has.

    Now someone mentioned Steinbeck. We want to bash the greats, that is where I would start. I just don't need 80 pages describing a grain of sand, before the story moves along.
  3. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Did you go to the Dickens exhibit at the Morgan? His notebooks - all this microscopic writing and overwriting - were crazy.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    That's definitely an issue with him. Read the first chapter of "East of Eden." I dare you.
  5. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    I'll come down pro-Steinbeck and (mostly) anti-Dickens.

    Dickens could spin a yarn, but he got paid by the word, and it shows.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    That's my point. When I called Great Expectations pulp fiction, I meant it literally. It was a serial. His books could and should all be half as long as he wrote them. He told great stories, but he wasn't a great storyteller.
  7. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Be more fun to make a bracket of the greatest novels no one's ever heard of. Like 'Call it Sleep,' or 'The Recognitions.'
  8. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    No Hemingway or Twain!?!

    Ye gods who are the fools running that thing?
  9. Zeke12

    Zeke12 Guest

    Or the best novels no one has actually read?

    Gravity's Rainbow, call your office.
  10. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Sorry, it's hard to take this seriously at all.

    How do you decide what is a better novel, "To the Lighthouse" or "Crime and Punishment"? I mean, what's your point of reference?

    And speaking of Dickens no list of "best novelists ever" is complete if you leave out Emile Zola. I think of him as the French version of Dickens but a far better writer---even in translation. "Germinal" is probably my favourite.

    I recently re-read Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn. The former is a terrific book but doesn't come close to consideration as the Great American Novel. Finn breaks down in the last 1/3 of the book but it's still a remarkable novel.
  11. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    I've read "Call it Sleep" Brilliant.

    I started "Recognitions" but at some point had no idea what was going on and gave up
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I actually have read it. Twice. Didn't understand it either time, but I had a massive erection the whole time.
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