Skip to main content

Triumphant Return Appendix 1

Bless you lovely people. I had a response from a reader to my previous post asking me which authors made the cut and survived the purge, and which were sent to the Gulag. So, in answer, in alphabetical order here are some of the authors whose books were deemed indispensible.

Paul Auster, Nicholson Baker, John Barth, Thomas Bernhard, T.C. Boyle, Richard Brautigan, Italo Calvino, Jonathan Carroll, Stephen Donaldson, Glen Duncan, Umberto Eco, Tibor Fischer, Richard Flanagan, Joseph Heller, W.F. Hermans, Bohumil Hrabal, Ismail Kadare, John D MacDonald (unread ones), Harry Mulisch, Ryu Murakami (selected), Cees Nooteboom, Viktor Pelevin, Thomas Pynchon, Jon Ronson, Will Self, Natsume Sōseki, Mark Twain, Kurt (and Mark) Vonnegut.

On reflection, I appear to be a serial literary misogynist, or, for the sake of my own vanity, whatever word is next down the taxonomical hierarchy of hate from misogyny. I did have some novels by women, I’m sure, but then they went to charity / the recycling bin so I’m not really able to defend myself with any robustness. I hope this answers your question.
The Voyage of Somebody
The Sailor by John Barth
Tortilla Curtain by Tom Coraghessan Boyle

The Concert by Ismail Kadare
I Am A Cat by
Natsume 
Sōseki
Deep Blue Goodbye
by John D MacDonald



Comments

How's about that then?

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Argh, Neil Gaiman blah blah, waffle waffle, and so on.
There, that’s out of the way.
I can’t help but equate the resurgence in popularity of the Norse mythos, Icelandic sagas, and Skaldic and Eddic poetry in all their new televisual, literal and figurative forms, to the similarly resurgent popularity of comic-book- and super-heroes. In fact, they’re two sides of the same interrogative coin: one asks, “How did we get here?” whereas the other asks, “Who can save us?” for the world needs heroes, and people to blame.
I will leave it up to you to project your own personal Them into the nice Them-shaped gap that leaves behind.
You may think it very necessary and timely to have brought out such a book. Alternatively, you may be suffering from hero-fatigue and see it as all a bit unnecessary. Or you may have been seduced by the big hammer on the cover and the lovely tactile matt-finish cover. In any case and in my own humble opinion, other than talk William Warder Norton into springing for a lov…

High-Rise by J.G. Ballard

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I can hold nothing against or up to either Neil Gaiman or the late Terry Pratchett. In respect of their fans and their work, my problems are mine and mine alone. In general, both are of the highest standard. In context however, I can only judge Pratchett’s early work, such as TruckersThe Carpet People (currently reading to my four-and-nine-tenths year old who is loving it) and The Light Fantastic etc. (all of which I enjoyed as a very young teenager). Post-Carpe Jugulum I have read exactly diddly squat, and the stage plays and TV adaptations have passed me by without so much as a flicker of interest. Whereas Gaiman continues to intrigue, chipping away at my natural scepticism with his charm and wit and style and great children’s books, and I did enjoy Stardust the movie, for the most part because of Robert De Niro, and also in spite of Ricky Gervais. Of course, were they to collaborate on a novel (not De Niro and Gervais; that would be one to avoid), then I would expect the world to…

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

Before you start, read this disclaimer:
Fans of Neil Gaiman beware – I don’t tolerate you very well, despite counting myself amongst you. It’s nothing personal (about you – it’s very personal to me), and I believe it’s Neil’s own fault for being such a very good writer. Please read on through the fan-bashing to the bit about the book. Thank you.

Neil Gaiman is an annoyance to me. I really (REALLY) liked American Gods but found that as soon as I mentioned this fact to anyone, I got one of two responses: nose-turned-up snobbery of the most scornful sort, or sickeningly gushing über-fanaticism, if that isn’t tautological. I don’t know which is worse. The snobs I can dismiss as most will be operating within the conceit that Gaiman is fantasy and therefore unworthy of further study or consideration – they are very unlikely to have ready anything by the author. The fans, though, start dribbling on and on about the time they met him in Bath Waterstone’s or how much better he is than the Latin …