Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1955

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 13
Beezus And Ramona by Beverley Cleary 3
The Talented Mr.Ripley by Patricia Highsmith 2
The Recognitions by William Gaddis 2
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis 2
The Return Of The King by J.R.R. Tolkien 2
Waiting For The Mathatma by R.K. Narayan 1
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham 1
Karlsson-On-The-Roof by Astrid Lindgren 1
The Acceptance World by Anthony Powell 1
After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson 1
The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermout 1
Maigret Sets A Trap by Georges Simenon 0
Conversations With Professor Y by Louis-Ferdinand Céline 0
The Willing Flesh by Willi Heinrich 0
L'Humeur Vagabonde by Antoine Blondin 0
Die Judin Von Toledo by Lion Feuchtwanger 0
Season Of The Sun by Shintaro Ishihara 0
Rosaura At Ten O' Clock by Marco Denevi 0
Count Luna by Alexander Lernet-Holenia 0
The Forbbiden Forest by Mircea Eliade 0
The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy 0
The House Of Fear by Ibne Safi 0
Jonas by Jens Bjorneboe 0
Once A Greek by Friedrich Durrenmatt 0
The Mouse That Roared by Leonard Wibberley 0
Moromeții by Marin Preda 0
The Magellanic Cloud by Stanislaw Lem 0
Son Of A Smaller Hero by Mordecai Richler 0
Beast In View by Margaret Millar 0
The Tree Of Man by Patrick White 0
The Rice Sprout Song by Eileen Chang 0
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk 0
The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson 0
The Dark Arena by Mario Puzo 0
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis 0
Memed, My Hawk by Yasar Kemal 0
Judith Hearne by Brian Moore 0
Carbonel: The King Of The Cats by Barbara Sleigh 0
The Genius And The Godess by Aldous Huxley 0
Gideon's Day by J.J. Marric 0
That Uncertain Feeling by Kinglsey Amis 0
The Quiet American by Graham Greene 0
Officers And Gentlemen by Evelyn Waugh 0
Moonraker by Ian Fleming 0
The Little Walls by Winston Graham 0
The Inheritors by William Golding 0
Homer's Daughter by Robert Graves 0
Unknown Assailant by Patrick Hamilton 0
Hell's Pavement by Damon Knight 0


Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 1 April 2021 10:09 (six months ago) link

I have not read Lolita, which will surely win this. My vote goes to Highmsith, an absolute genius at making you complicit in her protagonist's misanthropy and, after that, his crimes.

Fond memories of Karlsson-On-The-Roof, a Swedish friend once told me that it's the equivalent of Scooby Doo in Sweden in re: lazy "were they on DRUGS" references for stand-up comedians to make. I must've been like four or five when I had it read to me, but still vividly remember the moment where Karlsson first sees television, gets freaked out and the kid protagonist tries to explain how it works, realising to his own alarm that he doesn't really know, either. And neither did I! Busted.

They sure memed the fuck out of that hawk.

"The Inheritors" more grist for the mill for the LOTF conversation we had on the last thread:

The Inheritors is a work of prehistoric fiction[1] and the second novel, published in 1955, by the British author William Golding, best known for Lord of the Flies. It concerns the extinction of one of the last remaining tribes of Neanderthals at the hands of the more sophisticated Homo sapiens.

Season Of The Sun got adapted to the big screen, thus ushering in the Japanese New Wave. It also spawned Japan's first post-war youth culture. But from what I know the author's some right-wing dullard and it's about spoiled rich kids fucking, life is too short.

Cover of "That Uncertain Feeling" worth checking out on wikipedia.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 1 April 2021 10:18 (six months ago) link

I have lots of thoughts about Lolita but I will hold off in case someone decides to post challops about it. Seeing Beezus and Ramona in the same list also a pleasure - I read all of Beverley Cleary’s books as a child and remember them very fondly.

Scamp Granada (gyac), Thursday, 1 April 2021 10:31 (six months ago) link

I didn't like Lolita at the time but I can't remember enough about it to re-read. Nabokov's critical method for evaluating novels is a bit boring (close reading without Empson style pay-offs). I'll give his Memoir a go because I like his writing and maybe a Proust style knock-off might get me back on it. Otherwise:

The Recognitions by William Gaddis
Conversations With Professor Y by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson
The Talented Mr.Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Its clearly Jim Thompson: 5x books in '53 and '54 and he really needs my vote.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:04 (six months ago) link

Preda’s slavish realism bores me no less than Eliade’s fash fantasies, so that leaves the non-Romanians. I’ve never managed to get into Nabokov, unfortunately – every word of his rings hollow to my ears. Mordecai Richler is a bit of an eye-roller when viewed through a Montreal non-Anglo lens, so no thank you. I wish I’d read the Gaddis, which sounds like it would be up my alley. The Highsmith is fun, but not entirely my cup of tea either. On the francophone front, none of these are faves of mine tbh, so I’m ultimately going to vote for... the Tolkien, to offset his poor 1954 showing.

pomenitul, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:27 (six months ago) link

Lolita is a good book but its reputation spiralled wildly out of control. I may well still vote for it, though.

Nabokov's critical method for evaluating novels is a bit boring

Oh god, I tried reading some of his critical work and remember it being mostly very bad indeed. My main recollection was thinking "how can someone who created Pale Fire be so tedious in his literary opinions?" But I guess the lesson is to not assume that just because someone created something you love that they actually share your sensibilities. (I've learnt this lesson a lot of times now but it never quite sticks properly.)

emil.y, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:35 (six months ago) link

I think the way he can 'attack' a page can sometimes be wonderful. I really value his writing on Mansfield Park. Dostoevsky is where you can see the failings. He can only see a novel in terms of its technical achievement.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:43 (six months ago) link

Technique also involves knowing when to let go of technique, or providing the illusion of letting go. My main gripe with him, actually.

pomenitul, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:46 (six months ago) link

I am mad at the Gaddis because I just got sonned by the nyrb in a April fools beef

jammy mcnullity (wins), Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:49 (six months ago) link

Gaddis is kinda good in places but the overall didn't come together for me. I really want to tackle JR tho'.

Love Highsmith but that's not her best book (of the ones I've read, which aren't enough). Fucking great writer tho'.

xp = technique for Nabokov is inseparable to aesthetic pleasure you can gain from a work. This all comes apart in Dostoevsky.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:49 (six months ago) link

It also is for me nine times out of ten, yet his strikes me as superficial. Oh well.

pomenitul, Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:50 (six months ago) link

I read "Lolita" a long time ago but don't remember it very well. I've had "The Recognitions" on my bookshelves for the longest time. I started it once. Maybe someday. For me, this would probably be "The Magician's Nephew" which is my favorite of the Narnia books, because the most sci-fi. It reminds me of "A Wrinkle in Time".

o. nate, Thursday, 1 April 2021 17:46 (six months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 4 April 2021 00:01 (six months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 5 April 2021 00:01 (six months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1956

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 5 April 2021 10:42 (six months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I confess that I really like The Recognitions (and Gaddis generally) but it's hard to argue when Lolita is in the mix.

Jurassic parkour (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:12 (five months ago) link


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