Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1938

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 7
The Code Of The Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse 5
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene 4
The Unvanquished by William Faulkner 2
Murphy by Samuel Beckett 2
Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre 2
A Night Of Serious Drinking by René Daumal 2
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh 1
Mr.Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater 1
Alamud by Vladimir Bartol 1
Conversations In Sicily by Elio Vittorini 1
The Castle Of Argol by Julien Gracq 1
The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov 1
Night And The City by Gerald Kersh 0
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson 0
The Death Of The Heart by Elizabeth Bowen 0
Count Belisarius by Robert Graves 0
Flying Colours by C.S. Forester 0
Hussein, An Entertainment by Patrick Russ 0
Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis 0
The Sword In The Stone by T.H. White 0
They Drive By Night by James Curtis 0
Thirty Acres by Ringuet 0
The Emperor's Tomb by Joseph Roth 0
Hope Of Heaven by John O'Hara 0
The Life And Adventures Of Remus by Aleksander Majkowski 0
On The Edge Of Reason by Miroslav Krleža 0
Address Unknown by Kathrine Taylor 0
Cause For Alarm by Eric Ambler 0
The Glass Slipper by Mignon G. Eberhart 0
Free Land by Rose Wilder Lane 0
For Us, The Living by Robert A. Heinlein 0
Death From A Top Hat by Clayton Rawson 0
The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton 0
The Forest of a Thousand Daemons - A Hunter's Saga by Daniel O. Fagunwa 0
Dynasty Of Death by Taylor Caldwell 0
Under the Protection of Ka'bah by Hamka 0
The Gracie Allen Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine 0
The Judas Window by Carter Dickson 0
Can Ladies Kill? by Peter Cheney 0
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright 0
Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie 0
Young Man With A Horn by Dorothy Baker 0
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings 0
Torchlight To Valhalla by Gale Wilhelm 0
Savage Range by Luke Short 0
The Long Haul by A.I. Bezzerides 0
Capricornia by Xavier Herbert 0


Daniel_Rf, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:22 (four months ago) link

Hmmm… Le Château d'Argol vs Murphy vs La Nausée. The latter left an indelible mark on me in my teens, but these days Gracq's neo-baroque surrealism speaks to me more. As for Murphy, it's a step up from Dream of Fair to Middling Women and I like it very much but there will be plenty of additional opportunities to vote for Beckett later on.

pomenitul, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:28 (four months ago) link

Brighton Rock and Rebecca are both very dark works that I enjoyed a lot.

Brighton Rock really made me see things from a different perspective: as an atheist p much from birth in my more arrogant moments I think of religious faith as a kind of safety blanket. The protagonist of Brighton Rock is a catholic who has no doubts whatsoever that he's going to Hell and envies atheists/agnostics their belief that there's no higher power to fear.

A filmmaker who shall remain nameless has pointed out that Rebecca lures you in with this quite conventional romance plot, the poor wallflower plucked from obscurity by a good rich man, and then before you know it you're complicit in some pretty dark shit.

I was REALLY into T.H. White as a kid, which lead me to Malory, whom I devoured - and even started making little paper shields so I could re-enact the plot with those serving as characters, which would be destroyed every time someone opened the door and the things went flying. But I think I liked the adult parts, that weren't re-used by Disney, best, so saving my vote for that one.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:30 (four months ago) link

big stan for murphy right here. comparatively novelistic compared to his later books but great, funny, engaged with the entropy of the human body and whatever it is that resides with that body that we might call spirit. full of existentialist and absurdist puns, jokes, and all round general cleverness whole being humane and warm.

and loooool out of the silent planet. got a soft spot for that book.

Lord of the RONGS (Fizzles), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:41 (four months ago) link

God, for some reason I thought the Wake was '38 and was all prepared to get clicking, but I guess that comes next year. In that case it's got to be Nausea, such a formative work for me.

emil.y, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:43 (four months ago) link

Beckett v much not the Irish writer I’m waiting to vote for. Suspect the Pom-Fizzles alliance will push Murphy this year.

scampish inquisition (gyac), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:55 (four months ago) link

Ok I need to scroll before posting

scampish inquisition (gyac), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:55 (four months ago) link

I always get the Beckett one-word titles confused and forget which ones I've read, I'm pretty sure Murphy is one of the ones I *have*, and was awesome if it's the one I'm thinking of. But I can't vote against Nausea.

emil.y, Monday, 1 February 2021 15:57 (four months ago) link

The protagonist of Brighton Rock is a catholic who has no doubts whatsoever that he's going to Hell and envies atheists/agnostics their belief that there's no higher power to fear.


I agree, but I also he think he does Catholicism and the anger/envy so much better in The End of the Affair.

scampish inquisition (gyac), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:59 (four months ago) link

Haven't read that one yet! Greene was productive enough that even tho he's in the top5 of authors I've read most I still have a lot to catch up on.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 1 February 2021 16:02 (four months ago) link

Yeah, both The End of the Affair and Our Man in Havana are a couple of decades away! And yeah he was prolific af, he surely had days when he wasn’t feeling it, but he just kept banging out the books anyway.

scampish inquisition (gyac), Monday, 1 February 2021 16:06 (four months ago) link

Of the ones I've read, I'll go with Brighton Rock narrowly over Nausea for its memorable characters and story.

The Judas Window is one of Carr's more ingenious locked-room mysteries.

The Unvanquished used to get assigned to college freshmen as Faulkner's most accessible novel. Written as linked short stories for The Saturday Evening Post, it's probably all but unreadable now for its celebratory Lost Cause / anti-Reconstruction themes. It's Faulkner's version of Gone with the Wind's revisionist war history, begun before Mitchell's novel was published and fleshed out with Faulkner family lore and local history.

Brad C., Monday, 1 February 2021 16:42 (four months ago) link

I think Brighton Rock for me - still the only Greene I've read.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 1 February 2021 22:32 (four months ago) link

One of the great opening sentences in literature, I think.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 1 February 2021 22:33 (four months ago) link

Yeah, Brighton Rock---yall may well be right that he went deeper later, but meanwhile: compelling, teeming, zoom-in-and-out-of-interior setting, plotting (incl. some switcheroo subplotting, appropriate for beach town), memorable characters and story and momentum---not "couldn't put it down," but always knew it was waiting for me.
Although, as usual, I either haven't read or can't remember well enough some other likely strong contenders.

dow, Monday, 1 February 2021 22:55 (four months ago) link

Here I go again:

The Castle Of Argol by Julien Gracq -- chunky over-the-top surreal weirdness; it's grand

Murphy by Samuel Beckett -- I do love this

Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre -- I enjoyed his Roads to Freedom WW2 trilogy more, as it had good jokes

The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov -- minor Nabokov but I just love the whole vibe of the White Russians scuffling impotently round Berlin thing

Young Man With A Horn by Dorothy Baker -- great jazz novel with a title that has not aged well

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene -- kind of my ideal for literary thrillerdom, just excellent in all ways

Cause For Alarm by Eric Ambler -- this is close behind in the same category

The Code Of The Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse -- peak Wodehouse

Count Belisarius by Robert Graves -- never finished this

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson -- everybody absolutely went apeshit for this when it was rediscovered buy it was the very mildest of mild sauce, I thought

Night And The City by Gerald Kersh -- great bleak noirish novel

Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis -- terrible piece of shit

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier -- effective and beautifully judged bit of Gothic melodrama

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh -- love it

A Night Of Serious Drinking by René Daumal -- almost as good as its title, discursive rambling angry book

The Emperor's Tomb by Joseph Roth -- sequel to the Radetzky March, not as good, but what is?

Hope Of Heaven by John O'Hara -- I have an extremely high tolerance for struggling-screenwriter-in-Hollywood novels from the 30s/40s, so you may not like this as much as I did

On The Edge Of Reason by Miroslav Krleža -- really great book; a quiet man suddenly honestly says everything he's been thinking for years at a dinner party and wrecks his own life

Address Unknown by Kathrine Taylor -- so short it's not even a novella, but an effectively nasty little fuck-the-Nazis story

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 2 February 2021 00:08 (four months ago) link

Roth and Beckett are excellent but I gotta go for Conversations In Sicily - such an intense read. Probably one of the first of that great period in Italian literature that has a peak in the early 50s with Pavese and Ginzburg and a bunch of others.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 00:16 (four months ago) link

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh -- love it At his most Johnny Ramone, and something to offend everyone (but also frustration with so many people being fucked with by Big Media and Gov, not that he isn't emotionally old school)

dow, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 00:26 (four months ago) link

Scoop! is the only Evelyn Waugh I've really enjoyed and that's where my vote is going and I've probably read most of the obvious ones on this list. It's hard not to vote for Brighton Rock, though.

American Fear of Scampos (Ed), Tuesday, 2 February 2021 00:32 (four months ago) link

My dad has been trying to get me to read Scoop! since I was a kid, but I still haven't made it more than a few pages in. Voted Rebecca.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 03:37 (four months ago) link

lol i was given scoop by my journalist aunt and uncle 30+ years ago and still have yet to read it

mookieproof, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 04:20 (four months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 00:01 (four months ago) link

Tempted to vote Daumal but probably going with Rebecca.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 01:35 (four months ago) link

I've see the film of Young man With a Horn with Kirk Douglas not sure if it sticks to teh book much even if it's set in teh original era.

& I know I read Nausea in my teens and Brighton Rock somewhere along the way as well as seeing the films.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 10:10 (four months ago) link

Young Man With A Horn the film has a lesbian subtext with Lauren Bacall iirc

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 11:37 (four months ago) link

The only three I've read are Murphy, Nausea, and Out of the Silent Planet, all of which I liked pretty well when I read them.

o. nate, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 19:18 (four months ago) link

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

System, Thursday, 4 February 2021 00:01 (four months ago) link

A note for 1939. The Christie with the offensive title is the most notable one. All of John Dickson Carr's novels were minor.

wasdnuos (abanana), Thursday, 4 February 2021 01:12 (four months ago) link

Thanks, will keep that in mind!

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 4 February 2021 10:56 (four months ago) link

two Lost Cause apologists in here, I see -_-

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1939

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 4 February 2021 11:55 (four months ago) link


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