Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1972

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Poll Results

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino 13
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 6
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky 5
Watership Down by Richard Adams 4
The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally 2
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood 1
Mumbo Jumbo by Ishamel Reed 1
Journey Through A Small Planet by Emanuel Litvinoff 1
If We Dream Too Long by Goh Poh Seng 0
Hourglass by Danilo Kis 0
The Farewell Waltz by Milan Kundera 0
August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 0
The Nowhere Man by Kamala Markandaya 0
The School For Atheists by Arno Schmidt 0
La Clé Sur La Porte by Marie Cardinal 0
Tereza Batista: Home From The Wars by Jorge Amado 0
In My Father's Den by Maurice Gee 0
They Burn The Thistles by Yaşar Kemal 0
Short Letter, Long Farewell by Peter Handke 0
In The Fog Of The Season's End by Alex La Guma 0
The Rise And Fall Of Comrade Zylo by Dritëro Agolli 0
The Pond by Tamaz Chiladze 0
The Miracle Game by Josef Škvorecký 0
The Twilight Years by Sawako Ariyoshi 0
Winter In Wartime by Jan Terlouw 0
The Manticore by Robertson Davies 0
Rule Britannia by Daphne du Maurier 0
Triptricks by Ann Quin 0
Green Darkness by Anya Seton 0
The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov 0
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers 0
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K Le Guin 0
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya 0
The Tar-Aiym Krang by Alan Dean Foster 0
Sprat Morrison by Jean D'Costa 0
The Necrophilliac by Garbielle Wittkop 0
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Maryiln Durham 0
The Flame And The Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss 0
My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok 0
The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty 0
The Rainbird Pattern by Victor Canning 0
The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth 0
The Needle's Eye by Margaret Drabble 0
The Infernal Desire Machines Of Dr.Hoffman by Angela Carter 0
G. by John Berger 0
Fugue For A Darkening Island by Christopher Priest 0
Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl 0
The Bird Of Night by Susan Hill 0
The Revolt Of The Cockroach People by Oscar Zeta Acosta 0
In Blissfull Hell by Humayun Ahmed 0

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 11:07 (six months ago) link

Have a lot of love for Tove Jansson, and it would be appropriate to vote for The Summer Book on this glorious day of sunshine, but I'll throw a vote to "Journey Through A Small Planet" by Emanuel Livtinoff. Great evocation of growing up Jewish in London during the 30's - the bit that stuck with me the most was how the protagonist had one schoolyard friend, an Italian who also got picked on for not being True English, but then Mussolini came to power and the Italian kid stopped talking to him.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 11:09 (six months ago) link

I like the Atwood and Drabble and Berger choices.

But have to go with Calvino here. That's a wonderful little book that you can dip into and out of. There are pleasures on every page.

Nostradamusferatu (Ye Mad Puffin), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 11:10 (six months ago) link

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Short Letter, Long Farewell by Peter Handke
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Triptricks by Ann Quin

Probably Roadside picnic.

Love to read Mumbo Jumbo someday!

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 11:54 (six months ago) link

should really put my glasses on, thought that Green Darkness was written by Ayrton Senna for a moment.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 12:04 (six months ago) link

Having a hard time choosing between the Strugatskys and Calvino, Le Guin too but I've voted for her in previous polls so she can sit this one out. The only other one I've read is Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, which comes a distant fourth even with the Vermicious Knids and Shanks, Shuckworth & Showler (the only two things I remember about it).

nostrildamus (Matt #2), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 13:26 (six months ago) link

as a a big quin devotee have to say i struggled with triptricks

devvvine, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 14:16 (six months ago) link

Calvino. Lovely concept and execution, timeless yet modern, etc.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 14:50 (six months ago) link

Reading the recent translation from Wakefield of Waystations of the Deep Night by Marcel Brion, a collection of "weird" short stories originally published in 1942, it struck me that the title story could well have influenced Calvino.

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 15:04 (six months ago) link

haven't read any of these! been meaning to get around to calvino forever

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 15:13 (six months ago) link

Mumbo Jumbo for me: jazzy satire instigated by Voudon elements, with an alt-historical cinematic quality, kinda low-key, deadpan, with good timing.
Haven't yet read Revolt of the Cockroach People, which is about a Brown Power campaign, as recounted by activist Oscar Zeta Acosta, whose Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo is pretty amazing---he's the basis for the attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

dow, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 15:59 (six months ago) link

challop: Roadside Picnic is better than Stalker

Brad C., Tuesday, 1 June 2021 16:06 (six months ago) link

The Christopher Priest is excellent but should probably go for Strugatskys or Calvino.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 16:13 (six months ago) link

Although just seen Surfacing - the only Atwood I've ever really connected with.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 16:15 (six months ago) link

summer book & invisible cities are neck & neck, & share something that i can't put my finger on, a light touch maybe. can't decide between them. i enjoyed tripticks as well though not at the same level, which remains the only quin i've read yet.

vivian dark, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 17:03 (six months ago) link

No one's mentioned Watership Down, which got my vote.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 17:12 (six months ago) link

Watership Down is highly beloved by many ilxors, as shown when it gets mentioned in other threads, but like many well-known books it is the film or television adaptation that dominates the conversation. I reread it a couple of years ago and can see why it, like Tolkien, would make an oversize impression on young adults. That's an age that responds strongly to mythos and both Adams and Tolkien incorporate mythic elements extremely well. It may well win the poll.

I voted Tove Jansson's Summer Book, but I also strongly considered The Manticore.

What's It All About, Althea? (Aimless), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 17:29 (six months ago) link

The Polo/Khan sections of Invisible Cities are Calvino's very best writing IMO. The cities parts are fun but a bit tedious, but this book gets my vote.

Honorable mention to "August 1914" which is top tier Solzhenitsyn IMO.

That Dahl book is terrible.

justfanoe (Greg Fanoe), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 23:16 (six months ago) link

One more IMO than I intended in that last post.

justfanoe (Greg Fanoe), Tuesday, 1 June 2021 23:17 (six months ago) link

as a a big quin devotee have to say i struggled with triptricks

― devvvine

Yeah, I think it's her weakest. It feels like an attempt at furthering her style that just falls a bit flat. I always say it's her only properly post-modern novel, though that in itself isn't the problem, and I would probably still vote for it as a Good book that doesn't quite hit Great, but there are several other amazing things to vote for here.

Really tempted to give Mumbo Jumbo my vote, as its innovations are so effortless and fun and I fear it will be overlooked, but my heart belongs to Invisible Cities, honestly. Roadside Picnic and Watership Down both strong contenders too.

emil.y, Wednesday, 2 June 2021 12:25 (six months ago) link

Shamefully I've only read "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator". By any reasonable standard its not one of Dahl's better books. He rarely wrote sequels but I guess he made an exception in this case, perhaps it had something to with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" being his best-selling book. Perhaps to compensate, he made this one of his silliest books that I know of, indulging in more than the usual share of outright absurdity.

o. nate, Wednesday, 2 June 2021 16:08 (six months ago) link

I read both to my kids last year, C&TGGE reads like it was put together in a single sitting without a plan, it's like the rubbish thing I produced when I did nanowrimo.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 2 June 2021 16:12 (six months ago) link

It's kind of Dahl doing self-parody. It prefigures David Walliam's success as an author of Dahl parodies for children.

o. nate, Wednesday, 2 June 2021 16:15 (six months ago) link

yes, the random inconsequential space stuff and the uncalled-for involvement of the president of the USA do smack of the walliams.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 2 June 2021 16:18 (six months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 3 June 2021 00:01 (six months ago) link

I thought number of books I'd read from a given year would increase as time went on. BUt still only a handful here .
Oh well maybe I'm still reading other books from a given year.
Have read 4 or 5 of these anyway or at least have them floating around my floor . Shame those 2 categories aren't automatically interchangeable.

Stevolende, Thursday, 3 June 2021 09:20 (six months ago) link

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

System, Friday, 4 June 2021 00:01 (six months ago) link

No votes for The Farthest shore, not that surprising as it is a bit of a downer. Tombs of Atuan is the highlight of the original trilogy but I think that was displaced by The Lathe of Heaven.

The Miracle Game is a book I read because it was on my shelves, no idea where it came from but it was good enough to read twice.

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Friday, 4 June 2021 07:59 (six months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1973

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 4 June 2021 10:57 (six months ago) link

I like The Farthest Shore a lot, actually, but I couldn't vote for anything but The Summer Book.

Lily Dale, Friday, 4 June 2021 13:14 (six months ago) link

as a a big quin devotee have to say i struggled with triptricks

Gave up on it tbh.

Are Animated Dads Getting Hotter? (Tom D.), Friday, 4 June 2021 13:20 (six months ago) link

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