Well, I tried. I considered books by William T. Vollmann, Dave Eggers, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Madison Smartt Bell, Jennifer Egan, and even Mark Z. Danielewski. I wanted to propose an experimental, or at least post-modernist, work. Somehow, none of them seemed right for our group. (If you want to know exactly what novels I considered and why I ultimately rejected them I'll tell you, but I don't want to run on and on.)
I guess a Wittgenstein's Mistress doesn't come along every day.
I also considered proposing that we re-read The Magus and engage in discussion with Guillermo. Or perhaps (re-)read The French Lieutenant's Woman, but I decided Fowles would be better as a "side" project for those who wish to participate.
No, I am formally nominating two traditional contemporary novels:
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel
It's rare that a book wins both the most prestigious British award, the Man Booker Prize, and an important American award, the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was also a best-seller in the US, Canada, and Britain. In fact, it is the best selling Man Booker winner of all time. So, both a critical and popular success, and about Thomas Cromwell, surely one of the least beloved figures from English history. Everybody loves Thomas More. Thomas Cromwell, no. Sounds interesting to me.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - David Mitchell
I had originally thought of suggesting one of Mitchell's post-modernist works, such as Cloud Atlas, but I found myself intrigued that a successful, experimental author like Mitchell would decide to turn his hand to an (apparently) straightforward historical novel. It concerns a tiny Dutch outpost in Edo-era Japan, when it was otherwise entirely cut off from the West. I understand that there is both a love story and an adventure story, but without the "cheesy" quality so many modern novels have.
Anyway, this completes my nominations for this year.
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