Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2008

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Poll Results

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai 3
Home by Marilynne Robinson 3
The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin 2
The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin 1
A Mercy by Toni Morrison 1
Matter by Iain M. Banks 1
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin 1
Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck 1
Mssage by Bi Feiyu 0
The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi 0
The Elephant's Journey by José Saramago 0
Days In The Diaspora by Kamal Ruhayyim 0
Baghdad's Dead by Jamal Hussein Ali 0
Suicide by Édouard Levé 0
Sea Of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh 0
This Charming Man by Marian Keyes 0
The Fall Of The Stone City by Isamail Kadare 0
Purge by Sofi Oksanen 0
The Museum Of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk 0
The Moravian Night by Peter Handke 0
Many And Many A Year Ago by Selçuk Altun 0
The King Of Kahel by Tierno Monénembo 0
I Stared At The Night Of The City by Bachtyar Ali 0
I Curse The River Of Time by Per Pettersson 0
The Hitman's Guide To Housecleaning by Hallgrímur Helgason 0
From The Mouth Of The Whale by Sjón 0
From A To X by John Berger 0
Exiled From Almost Everywhere by Juan Goytisolo 0
Frontier by Can Xue 0
Beijing Coma by Ma Jian 0
Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner 0
The Solitude Of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano 0
Anathem by Neal Stephenson 0
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 0
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan 0
Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman 0
Chewing Gum by Mansour Bushnaf 0
A Case Of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif 0
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 0
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box 0
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 0
The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud 0
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher 0
Submarine by Joe Dunthorne 0
The Road Home by Rose Tremain 0
The Clothes On Their Backs by Linda Grant 0
His Illegal Self by Peter Carey 0
My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates 0
The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon 0
All The Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen 0

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 12 November 2021 16:52 (two years ago) link

Found Matter a challenging read but it sure is full of great ideas. The Hunger Games I read about a fourth of, it's fine.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 12 November 2021 16:54 (two years ago) link

lol at frontloading the sad young literary men

once again haven’t read any of these

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 12 November 2021 16:56 (two years ago) link

I've read Anathem, that's it.

There's always a batch of books in these polls that, if you didn't read them when they were new, it's very hard to imagine ever reading.

jmm, Friday, 12 November 2021 17:18 (two years ago) link

I was surprised thinking, I’ve surely read none of these, but no, three. Am not going to vote on that.

I also own a signed copy of His Illegal Self that I got at a Guardian book event where Peter Carey talked about Oscar and Lucinda that I still haven’t read.

This Charming Man is decent, but as far as her later work goes, it’s no The Mystery of Mercy Close. I will be back to stan for that one if you include it in 2012, Daniel! Looking at the cover, the cover is really trivial and sparkly but it’s dark as fuck and a genuinely uncomfortable read. I liked it, but it was too hard to read again. I feel like her actual work & the marketing of might be up there with the most misleading in publishing?!

suggest bainne (gyac), Friday, 12 November 2021 17:18 (two years ago) link

I tried reading The Three Body Problem, Lavinia, and I Curse the River of Time and couldn't get into any of them; I guess 2008 just isn't for me.

Lily Dale, Friday, 12 November 2021 17:18 (two years ago) link

I've absorbed the Hunger Games by osmosis (via my kids) but this year is basically a blank for me.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 12 November 2021 17:23 (two years ago) link

I think of Seiobo as a collection of stories rather than a novel (got into an argument about this before) but I will still confidently vote for it because it's front-to-back bangers

Nature's promise vs. Simple truth (bernard snowy), Friday, 12 November 2021 18:27 (two years ago) link

The White Tiger is good journalism first and decent fiction second. Not quite enough for a vote but I'd not not recommend it

imago, Friday, 12 November 2021 18:36 (two years ago) link

Because of my old person reading habits, as these polls entered the 21st century they have included ever fewer titles I've read. This one is a shutout.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 12 November 2021 18:51 (two years ago) link

Voted Home, which, after looking out across time and space and tumblin' tumbleweeds from Gilead, especially (but even if I'd started here) is tight and sometimes claustrophobic, with these few family members bumping up against each other even when trying to avoid or slow confrontation, as the father's condition deteriorates, but w those bolts of lucidity, as olde rationalizations are forgotten, and new developments are noted--but also moments of respite, grace notes, even, setting them up for the next round (ending incl. sweet payoff, though not living-dying happily ever after)

dow, Friday, 12 November 2021 18:52 (two years ago) link

I own one or two of these, have read none.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Saturday, 13 November 2021 00:35 (two years ago) link

Have read 5, voted Home.

Jaq, Saturday, 13 November 2021 00:48 (two years ago) link

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai

The only one by him I really liked. Goes from his post Joycean modernism of the earlier work to something more essayistic. But the writing can be as challenging as what he writes about.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 13 November 2021 01:07 (two years ago) link

I've read "All the Sad Young Literary Men" but I don't remember it very distinctly. I think this would be a write-in for Joseph O'Neill's Netherland for me.

o. nate, Saturday, 13 November 2021 02:14 (two years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 15 November 2021 00:01 (two years ago) link

Haven't read many of these. Suicide by Edouard Leve is a pretty striking one - author writes a 'novel' entitled Suicide, about a 'friend' who commits suicide, then three days after it's accepted for publication, author commits suicide, leaving a note to say he still wants the novel published.

Zelda Zonk, Monday, 15 November 2021 00:30 (two years ago) link

Interesting piece about the author here: https://www.frieze.com/article/last-things

Zelda Zonk, Monday, 15 November 2021 00:32 (two years ago) link


flopson, Monday, 15 November 2021 00:46 (two years ago) link

I've read six - Home, Olive Kitteridge, Visitation, Matter, Anathem, The Three Body Problem. No regrets about any of them though I do prefer Gilead's open hearted protagonist to Home's over anxious and somewhat less generous Glory. Olive Kitteridge is abother not so sympathetic character but I warmed to her contradictions and moments of self awareness. I'm voting for Visitation which is monumental, and devastating where it touches on the holocaust. Anathem is my favourite Stephenson, love the idea of the monasteries only open once every year, decade, century, or millennium. Matter is one of the more fun Culture novels and The Three Body Problem is bonkers but memorable.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Monday, 15 November 2021 08:43 (two years ago) link

2x 3bp novels in the list, neither of them short (i'm guessing this was the translation into english rather than initial publication).

just those two and Matter for me (and House Of Suns, not listed). can't choose between them.

koogs, Monday, 15 November 2021 10:04 (two years ago) link

I think this would be a write-in for Joseph O'Neill's Netherland for me.

Only because I don't think I've ready anything else on this list.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Monday, 15 November 2021 13:22 (two years ago) link

Home's Glory is youngest daughter/sister, back to take care of their father and for private reasons, then lifelong outlier prodigal brother finally returns, she's cooped up in old weird family home w them, no room for laidback Rev. John reveries, though she has her own at the end---think it works on its own terms, like the others in this cycle. But it's also the only one in this poll that I've read, as usual; otherwise, I might vote for something else.

dow, Monday, 15 November 2021 17:26 (two years ago) link

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

System, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:01 (two years ago) link

Least popular year since 2003 which also had 13 votes.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 16 November 2021 08:38 (two years ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2009

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 14:45 (two years ago) link

Only top tie so far!?

dow, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 17:22 (two years ago) link

Oh no, theer were tons of those in the early 20th century polls.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 10:18 (two years ago) link

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