Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1984

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Neuromancer by William Gibson 7
The Lover by Marguerite Duras 4
Money by Martin Amis 3
Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand by Samuel R. Delany 2
Dictionary Of The Khazars by Milorad Pavić 2
Empire Of The Sun by J.G. Ballard 2
1982, Janine by Alasdair Gray 2
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams 2
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes 1
Cities Of Salt by Abdul Rahman Munif 1
The Ark Sakura by Kobo Abe 1
The Boys On The Rock by John Fox 1
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera 1
Blood And Guts In High School by Kathy Acker 1
The Year Of The Death Of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago 1
Democracy by Joan Didion 1
February Shadows by Elisabeth Reichart 0
The Young Man by Botho Strauss 0
Indian Nocturne by Antonio Tabucchi 0
The Hostage by Zayd Mutee' Dammaj 0
Beatles by Lars Saabye Christensen 0
The Bone People by Keri Hulme 0
The Chess Master by A Cheng 0
Circles In A Forest by Dalene Matthee 0
Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard 0
My Life In Crime by John Kiriamiti 0
Professor Marten's Departure by Jaan Kross 0
Po-on by Franisco Sionil José 0
Past Perfect by Yaakov Shabtai 0
The Favorite by Valentin Pikul 0
My Companions In The Bleak House by Eva Kantůrková 0
Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin 0
Budding Prospects by T.C. Boyle 0
Clay's Ark by Octavia E. Butler 0
Doctor Slaughter by Paul Theroux 0
Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie 0
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins 0
Motown And Didi by Walter Dean Myers 0
Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin 0
The Rain God by Arturo Islas 0
The Stain by Rikki Ducornet 0
Thinner by Stephen King 0
Vampire Junction by S.P. Somtow 0
The Witches Of Eastwick by John Updike 0
The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend 0
Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner 0
In Custody by Anita Desai 0
The Color Of Money by Walter Tevis 0
Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter 0
The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy 0


Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 11:42 (three months ago) link

Hope Kundera doesn't win this, the parts on the surveillance state are gripping but the rest of that book feels very self-important and horny in an uninteresting way.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 11:45 (three months ago) link

no Lincoln?!

Empire Of The Sun, Hotel du Lac, Unbearable Lightness , fine, but this year belongs to Saramago.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 11:53 (three months ago) link

Very much agreed.

Going with Duras.

xp

pomenitul, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 11:55 (three months ago) link

That Kundera is sometime poster tangenttangent's most-hated book of all time iirc - I haven't touched it. Acker seems a likely frontrunner here?

imago, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 11:55 (three months ago) link

Really don't have much of a grasp on what Gore Vidal novels are rated as his best and reception to previous Vidal inclusions has been very tepid. But as always, happy to make sure to include important works of his in future installments, if he has any - just lemme know.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:01 (three months ago) link

I could see this going to Kundera, Saramago, Martin Amis

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:02 (three months ago) link

Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard
The Year Of The Death Of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago
Past Perfect by Yaakov Shabtai
Indian Nocturne by Antonio Tabucchi
The Lover by Marguerite Duras
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera
Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner
1982, Janine by Alasdair Gray
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes

I read the Barnes for the ILB book club.

Shabtai is one to mention as v good, but not something ppl will know.

I'll go for Duras bcz her late works are special to me.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:08 (three months ago) link

oooh forgot Woodcutters, my first Bernhar.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:10 (three months ago) link

Unbearable Lightness blew my mind when I was 19, haven't reread since but really think I would be a lot more positive than anyone else so far ITT if I did

voting for So Long... as promised in a previous round

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:24 (three months ago) link

the film >>> the novel

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:24 (three months ago) link

noooo the novel >>>>>>>>>>>>> the film

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 12:48 (three months ago) link

Dictionary Of The Khazars by Milorad Pavić

Easy choice for me here.

Hope Kundera doesn't win this, the parts on the surveillance state are gripping but the rest of that book feels very self-important and horny in an uninteresting way.

― Daniel_Rf

Ha, I remember liking it a lot but iirc this is damningly accurate.

emil.y, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 13:23 (three months ago) link

A lot of "an author I like but not my favorite book" on here

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 13:42 (three months ago) link

so i originally read money on a bootleg digital copy. i thought it was an interesting character study that ended kinda abruptly. eventually, i picked up a physical copy and i realized that my digital copy excised the entire final half of the book, where his life falls apart.

still, great book, and it taught me a valuable lesson about how sometimes piracy is bad

bart harley-jarvis cocker (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 14:48 (three months ago) link

Lots to love here:

The Boys on the Rock is sad and beautiful (and hot)
Neuromancer is fine in my memory and I'll leave it that way
Blood and Guts is magnificent
Empire of the Sun a bit of an outlier for Ballard?
Hotel du Lac feels like a minor Brookner but beautiful all the same
Money my favourite Amis
The Unbearable Lightness of Being feels like the oldest book here?
The Bone People had a huge effect on me when I read it but apprehensive about revisiting

Acker, Amis (spit) or Keri Hulme I think.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 15:16 (three months ago) link

I've read these: Hunt for Red October, Neuromancer, Blood and Guts in High School, Flaubert's Parrot, and So Long and Thanks for all The Fish. My vote is Flaubert's Parrot.

o. nate, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 15:18 (three months ago) link

As usual, several on here I read too near publication for voting with conviction at this point. And Empire of the Sun, based on events of the author's own life, eventually seemed like summer blockbuster numbness, maybe fabulous armor for an emotional core he didn't care to plumb, or no longer had access to---should read it again, but there are so many of those, and several of these I still need to read.
Going with The Lover, which was hot and made me question myself and I still want to read these related---take it wiki:
There are two published versions of The Lover: one written in the form of an autobiography, without any superimposed temporal structures, as the young girl narrates in first-person; the other, called The North China Lover and released in conjunction with the film version of the work, is in film script form, in the third person, with written dialogue and without internal monologue. This second version also contains more humor than the original.

In the first version of Avital Inbar's Hebrew translation (Maariv publishers,1986), there is (page 11) an excerpt, dictated by Marguerite Duras on the phone to her translator. A section that does not appear in any other version of the book.

Barbara Bray's English translation won the Scott Moncrieff Prize and PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize in 1986.

Real-life connections
Duras published The Lover[1] when she was 70, 55 years after she met Léo, the Chinese man of her story (she never revealed his surname). She wrote about her experience in three works: The Sea Wall, The Lover, and The North China Lover.[2][3]

dow, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 05:08 (three months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 15 July 2021 00:01 (three months ago) link

Douglas Adams again. I read his first book, and had no desire to read more. Robert Sheckley had done it all before and better.

My impression (mostly second-hand, since I've read so little of him) is that Adams wasn't really a writer, rather an inventor of whimsical notions. Alasdair Beckett-King is a current example. It must be an English thing. I don't feel strongly about any of this, just a kind of puzzled wonder at Adams's recurring appearance on these lists.

alimosina, Thursday, 15 July 2021 17:24 (three months ago) link

Hitchhiker's Guide was huge in the '80s in the US. I never knew anybody who'd listened to the original BBC radio broadcasts, but the book was very popular and spawned lots of tie-ins like the famous text-based computer game

o. nate, Thursday, 15 July 2021 18:09 (three months ago) link

Yeah, Hitchhiker's Guide was pressed on me by a friend, and I read it out of loyalty.

Voted for Munif, by the way.

alimosina, Thursday, 15 July 2021 18:20 (three months ago) link

So Long ... is a much, much better book than HHGTG imo and demonstrates he really could write

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 15 July 2021 18:52 (three months ago) link

So Long is the worst book is worst book of the 5-book trilogy, or at least the one that fans of the series like the least. It's mostly a romcom, with one sci-fi-y thing in the final chapter.

wasdnuos (abanana), Thursday, 15 July 2021 23:27 (three months ago) link

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

System, Friday, 16 July 2021 00:01 (three months ago) link

re-read neuromancer a few years ago, and while i did not and would never vote for it, it holds up much better than a 40yo book of its type has any right to

mookieproof, Friday, 16 July 2021 00:15 (three months ago) link

The sky above the port was the colour of ilx, tuned to a dead thread

Camaraderie, I am heartened to find out you actually consider Life, The Universe & Everything to be the best Douglas Adams, as I had taken yr previous declaration that the 4th book is the best to be referring to Mostly Harmless, which I really couldn't justify on any level.

My impression (mostly second-hand, since I've read so little of him) is that Adams wasn't really a writer, rather an inventor of whimsical notions. Alasdair Beckett-King is a current example. It must be an English thing. I don't feel strongly about any of this, just a kind of puzzled wonder at Adams's recurring appearance on these lists.

Well, I also include stuff like, say, Jackie Collins or Ian Fleming in these - Adams is a more constant presence than those two were purely because he always gets votes. While the area he influenced - comedy sci-fi- may be somewhat niche, I think his influence on it is enormous (and mostly bad, you could say); like there's a whole cottage industry of Adams rip-offs that you can purchase. Stephen King is an example of someone whose shtick is pretty easy to dismiss too and I make sure to include his stuff every year.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 16 July 2021 09:17 (three months ago) link

No, I really did mean that Mostly Harmless is the best book.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 09:46 (three months ago) link

hold on sorry no

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 09:46 (three months ago) link

So Long ... is the best, Mostly Harmless is awful

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 09:47 (three months ago) link

So Long is the worst book is worst book of the 5-book trilogy, or at least the one that fans of the series like the least. It's mostly a romcom, with one sci-fi-y thing in the final chapter
could not give a flying stuff what fans of the series like, fans always seem to have it the wrong way round. the absence of sci-fi and replacement with subtle character and place studies and what I can only describe as a mystical yearning for meaning (which is very much at odds with his wisecracking logical friend-of-Dawkins stuff) this is all why it is a much better book than the rest of the series.

Mostly Harmless is the opposite of this, it is full of a nihilistic existential despair which blocks him from writing anything interesting

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 09:52 (three months ago) link

SLATFATF is a rom-com only in that it concerns a romantic relationship, and is sometimes funny. typical that a certain kind of fan would turn their noses up at that.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 16 July 2021 09:54 (three months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1985

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 16 July 2021 10:06 (three months ago) link

daniel_rf, feel heartened that i often do think that life, the universe, and everything is the best adams

bart harley-jarvis cocker (voodoo chili), Friday, 16 July 2021 18:07 (three months ago) link

The Boys on the Rock is sad and beautiful (and hot)

Seconded. I read it years ago, and the final pages haunt me still.

edited for dog profanity (cryptosicko), Friday, 16 July 2021 19:40 (three months ago) link


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