Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1948

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith 4
Death Sentence by Maurice Blanchot 2
Concluding by Henry Green 2
The Heart Of The Matter by Graham Greene 2
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata 2
No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai 1
Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein 1
The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner 1
Catalina by W. Somerset Maugham 1
The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey 1
I Am A Martinician Woman by Lucette Ceranus 0
The Road by Harry Martinson 0
Funeral Rites by Jean Genet 0
Ape And Essence by Aldous Huxley 0
Uranus by Marcel Aymé 0
Viper In The Fist by Hervé Bazin 0
Sivagamiyin Sapatham by Kalki 0
Saint Glinglin by Raymond Queneau 0
Oeroeg by Hella Haasse 0
The Mirage by Naguib Mahfouz 0
Maigret's Dead Man by Georges Simenon 0
The Count Of Saint Germain by Alexander Lernet-Holenia 0
A Burnt Child by Stig Dagerman 0
The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness 0
Ashes And Diamonds by Jerzy Andrzejewski 0
The Adventurer by Mika Waltari 0
Adam Buenosayres by Leopoldo Marechal 0
Some Time Never: A Fable For Supermen by Roald Dahl 0
Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin 0
Letters From A Lost Uncle by Mervyn Peake 0
The City And The Pillar by Gore Vidal 0
Chinatown Family by Lin Yutang 0
The Road Through The Wall by Shirley Jackson 0
Remembrance Rock by Carl Sandburg 0
Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote 0
The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer 0
Last Of The Conquerors by William Gardner Smith 0
Lalsalu by Syed Waliullah 0
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton 0
Guard Of Honor by James Gould Cozzens 0
Half A Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang 0
Just William's Luck by Richmal Crompton 0
The Heat Of The Day by Elizabeth Bowen 0
The Haunting Of Toby Jugg by Dennis Wheatley 0
The Aunt's Story by Patrick White 0
Seraph On The Suwaneeby Zora Neale Hurston 0
One Clear Call by Upton Sinclair 0
Intruder In The Dust by William Faulkner 0
The Ides Of March by Thornton Wilder 0
Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke 0


Daniel_Rf, Monday, 8 March 2021 12:19 (four months ago) link

The Huxley, Ape and Essence, is terrible, from what I remember. I guess I'll go for Maugham again - I haven't read much this year.

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Monday, 8 March 2021 12:27 (four months ago) link

Concluding is amazing and I'm gonna chuck it a vote

imago, Monday, 8 March 2021 12:48 (four months ago) link

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE 4EVA

horseshoe, Monday, 8 March 2021 13:55 (four months ago) link

that was my vote before i even looked at the rest of the list, but having looked, i feel good about it.

horseshoe, Monday, 8 March 2021 13:56 (four months ago) link

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horseshoe, Monday, 8 March 2021 13:56 (four months ago) link

The Blanchot is technically a récit rather than a roman, but I'm voting for it anyway because I think it's his best work of narrative prose alongside the more Lautréamont-inflected Thomas the Obscure.

pomenitul, Monday, 8 March 2021 14:20 (four months ago) link

This one was particularly difficult, there are several things on this list that are very important to me:

"A Burnt Child" is a total classic of angry Scando miserabilism, the first Dagerman I read.
"The Heat of the Day" was the book that convinced me that Elizabeth Bowen was amazing
"Concluding" is good enough that I don't mind agreeing with Imago about it
"Snow Country" is brilliant and heartbreaking.
"Saint Glinglin" miiiight be my favourite Queneau, IIRC it's one that maintains its initial momentum (I think he often fails to do so)

Most of the above would have been my choice if they'd cropped up in many of the previous years.

NEVERTHELESS I have voted for "The Corner That Held Them" because STW is the greatest and TCTHT is marvellous and unique. What's more I don't know that anyone else will vote for it and I want it to have at least one vote.

Tim, Monday, 8 March 2021 16:56 (four months ago) link

Much here that perhaps I should have read by now, but haven't. I can only claim to have read four. However, Concluding is my favorite novel among the Henry Green I've read and I've not voted for any works by Green, yet. I have no doubts or second thoughts in casting my vote its way.

Judge Roi Behan (Aimless), Monday, 8 March 2021 18:49 (four months ago) link

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE 4EVA

otm

Lily Dale, Monday, 8 March 2021 18:58 (four months ago) link

From what I remember, Ape and Essence was after Huxley decided writing films would be a doddle and moved to Hollywood.
From Wiki: 'Several of the vignettes portray a female baboon singing sensually to an all-baboon audience "Give me, give me, give me detumescence..."' 'The two warring sides each have an Einstein on a leash which they force to press the button, releasing clouds of disease-causing gases toward each other. '

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Monday, 8 March 2021 19:52 (four months ago) link

So it was a script that got turned into a novel, after the script proved unfilmable.

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Monday, 8 March 2021 19:53 (four months ago) link

Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke -- hw rewrote this as The City and The Stars, which is the version I've read. Stolid Clarke prose still manages a lovely elegiac sense of massive amounts of passing time.

I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith -- pure literary delight, frankly

Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote -- I remember liking this a lot, despite a general wallowing in the loonier elements of Southern Gothic

The Road Through The Wall by Shirley Jackson -- deeply underrated, very funny and ultimately quite horrifying book

The Ides Of March by Thornton Wilder -- Roman historical fiction that was actually really good and not as fusty as I had expected

Ape And Essence by Aldous Huxley -- mad as a cut snake

Concluding by Henry Green -- Green is such a genius, he just kept quietly turning out these little masterpieces

The Heart Of The Matter by Graham Greene -- one of the major Greenes but one of my less favourite ones, beautiful writing but feels a bit overdetermined

Just William's Luck by Richmal Crompton -- is this the first time a William colection has turned up in these lists? I've read all of them, but no idea which collection has which stories

Letters From A Lost Uncle by Mervyn Peake -- quite peculiar and charming and feels a bit unfinished

The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness -- was this the first nuclear power protest novel? I know I liked it but remember almost nothing about it

A Burnt Child by Stig Dagerman -- grim as grim, really dark bit of work, splendid in a wrist-slitting way

Maigret's Dead Man by Georges Simenon -- reliably excellent

The Mirage by Naguib Mahfouz -- takes some of the basic premise of Camus's The Stranger and goes in a different direction, a man adrift after the death of his overbearing mother

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata -- just gorgeous

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 00:22 (four months ago) link

have only read Castle and Snow Country, and only then in the last 1, 3 years respectively

i guess Ashes and Diamonds is the book that the Wajda film is based on

koogs, Tuesday, 9 March 2021 04:01 (four months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 10 March 2021 00:01 (four months ago) link

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

System, Thursday, 11 March 2021 00:01 (four months ago) link

I CAPTURE THE CASTLE PREVAILS

horseshoe, Thursday, 11 March 2021 00:14 (four months ago) link

Props to the other person who voted for Blanchot.

pomenitul, Thursday, 11 March 2021 00:20 (four months ago) link

Puzzled respect to the person who voted for the Heinlein.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 11 March 2021 11:16 (four months ago) link

Props to the other person who voted for Blanchot.

― pomenitul, donderdag 11 maart 2021 1:20 (eleven hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

https://i459.photobucket.com/albums/qq313/doctorcasino/thumbsuposama.gif

A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 11 March 2021 11:50 (four months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1949

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 11 March 2021 13:12 (four months ago) link

Puzzled respect to the person who voted for the Heinlein.

It was the only one in the list I'd read! Also a classic example of his distinctive style of epic YA space adventure, that still manages to include an author-substitute character blathering off at great length while parroting his quite frankly barmy political views.

fuck this for a game of soldiers (Matt #2), Thursday, 11 March 2021 21:01 (four months ago) link

Death Sentence by Maurice Blanchot
Concluding by Henry Green
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
Funeral Rites by Jean Genet
The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness

All good, not bad. Probably would've voted Blanchot as well.

I Capture the Castle sounds good, although it isn't my thing.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 13 March 2021 16:53 (four months ago) link

one of the things i enjoy about I Capture the Castle is that it functions as a charming and well written bildungsroman, but it's also low key a skeptical take on high modernism, particularly the type of experimental fiction exemplified by Ulysses. Cassandra in the novel feels a bit anxious about her father's literary work and how it's nothing like her own, and one imagines Smith felt similarly about figures like Joyce. i mean, i like Joyce well enough, but i still appreciate the seriousness of Castle's engagement with the gendered anxiety of literary influence. and i prefer Smith's immersive realism to high modernism tbh. also she's funny about the Joycean thing without being cruel or unfair.

horseshoe, Saturday, 13 March 2021 19:48 (four months ago) link

oh, that's a really interesting aspect of it that I hadn't considered/remembered. I haven't read that book in a long time but it's on my shelf, maybe I'll reread it now that the weather is nice. (It's the sort of book I want to read outside.)

Lily Dale, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:16 (four months ago) link

it's worth rereading! it's less sentimental and more...flinty than i recalled it being when i first read it in my early 20s.

horseshoe, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:26 (four months ago) link

truly in the Austenian line

horseshoe, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:27 (four months ago) link

i remembered Simon as romantic and dreamy, but his behavior seems pretty shitty and self-indulgent on a reread, for example.

horseshoe, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:27 (four months ago) link

oh, definitely! She's so going to outgrow him.

Lily Dale, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:30 (four months ago) link

I went on a kick of trying to track down all of Dodie Smith's novels after I read I Capture the Castle, and the rest of them are not anywhere near as good but I still liked them.

Lily Dale, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:32 (four months ago) link

i sometimes mean to find the rest of them, too! maybe i'll try again.

horseshoe, Saturday, 13 March 2021 20:36 (four months ago) link

It Ends With Revelations is probably my favorite of them. Not great, but very readable.

Lily Dale, Saturday, 13 March 2021 21:02 (four months ago) link

"i mean, i like Joyce well enough, but i still appreciate the seriousness of Castle's engagement with the gendered anxiety of literary influence. and i prefer Smith's immersive realism to high modernism tbh."

Interesting to come up with this in the late 40s, years after Joyce has passed away. Surely the kinds of novels that Smith or Joyce were publishing were going to be published?

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 14 March 2021 10:42 (four months ago) link

not sure i follow your question...i guess Smith still had a bee in her bonnet about Joycean experimental fiction in the 40s!

horseshoe, Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:20 (four months ago) link

Sorry yes was just a reflection on the discussion I probably shouldn't have posted.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:27 (four months ago) link


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