Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1988

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Libra by Don DeLillo 4
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco 4
Breaking And Entering by Joy Williams 2
Matilda by Roald Dahl 2
The Knight And Death by Leonardo Sciasia 2
The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris 2
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood 2
Oscar And Lucinda by Peter Carey 1
Islands In The Net by Bruce Sterling 1
The Carpathians by Janet Frame 1
Wittgestein's Mistress by David Markson 1
The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing 1
The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Holinghurst 1
The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh 1
The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker 1
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto 1
Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami 0
On Parole by Akira Yoshimura 0
English, August: An Indian Story by Upamanyu Chatterjee 0
The High Road by Edna O' Brien 0
The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte 0
The Teenage Textbook by Adrian Tan 0
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga 0
The Last World by Christoph Ransmayr 0
In Praise Of The Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa 0
Immortality by Milan Kundera 0
House Of Glass by Pramoedya Ananta Toer 0
The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan 0
The War Of The Saints by Jorge Amado 0
Utz by Bruce Chatwin 0
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie 0
Rivals by Jilly Cooper 0
The Comforts Of Madness by Paul Sayer 0
State Of War by Ninotchka Rosca 0
Bingo by Rita Mae Brown 0
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler 0
Cut Numbers by Nick Tosches 0
Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh 0
The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 0
Koko by Peter Straub 0
Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson 0
The Gold Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson 0
Inland by Gerald Murnane 0
The Beginning Of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald 0
The Captain And The Enemy by Graham Greene 0
A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark 0
The Beautiful Room Is Empty by Edmund White 0
Mother London by Michael Moorcock 0
Ratking by Michael Dibdin 0
Chekago by Natalya Lowndes 0


Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 10:23 (one month ago) link

Write in vote for Gate To Women's Country by Sherri S. Tepper; it's a riveting sci fi read and is included in the SF Masterworks series so I guess reasonably canonical but I couldn't fit it in with all the other actual Hugo and Nebula winners on this list.

I didn't include them, but was very surprised to see Michael Chabon and Jonathan Franzen published their first novels this year, thought they were younger. This also means that there was a literary world which had both those two and Muriel Spark, Jorge Amado.

80's Graham Greene is so sour. Of course he was never a barrel of laughs but he lost his humanism towards the end there I think.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 10:27 (one month ago) link

Of the very few I've read, Libra stands out.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 10:53 (one month ago) link

of these I've read the Gibson, DeLillo (which I may have put down without having finished it, though I did like him a lot at the time) and Sciascia. Probably ought to have read Foucault's Pendulum; certainly ought to get around to Murnane. I think I have Oscar and Lucinda around somewhere, when I first read Bliss I got pretty amped about Peter Carey and bought a few more.

But of my three, anyway, I break them down like this:
Gibson - I remember noticing what I always notice with pop fiction, that the overall quality of the writing, control of tone, etc., takes me out of it. I'm no snob, I'll read anything, but the writing seemed kinda careless? However, the world-building, holy shit, that was 25 years ago and I still retain details from that book, stuff I can call immediately to mind (the route of administration, the rig, of the drug they take, for instance). That's pretty remarkable; most details of books vanish into a haze in my skull and I have to leaf through them to remember specifics. Still, this didn't leave me thinking "you better go read Neuromancer now" and indeed I didn't.
DeLillo - I honestly can never figure out what I really think of DeLillo. Haven't kept up over the years & just now read that his later short ones are supposed to be "like European novels" which for me suggests I should check them out, as I mainly read lit in translation. Did I read Libra? I think I put it down and didn't get back to it at some point. anyway, it gets my vote, his kind of european philosophy-noir shit is precisely my bag, I can't get enough.
Sciascia - found a book by him in a used bookstore in a small midwestern town while I was out of town on business about ten years back. said, this is cool looking book, maybe I'll read this. did. immediately became one of my favorite writers ever. in a weird twist, it turned out that the husband of the therapist I'd been seeing for years is an authority on sciascia.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 11:03 (one month ago) link

(Libra did not actually get my vote, Sciascia did, bad editing there.)

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 11:36 (one month ago) link

yeah, quite a few more than usual for me too. Comforts of Madness has a pale saints lp named after it. i can never remember one anne tyler from the other (apart from when i can). read the straub on the back on his stephen king collab. oscar and lucinda won the booker that year. but of all these i think matilda is the classic.

koogs, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 11:37 (one month ago) link

foucault's pendulum starts with a verse in hebrew. i don't remember much else about it. oh, the 12 day gap when they switched calendars. spoiler.

koogs, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 11:39 (one month ago) link

Foucault's Pendulum is Eco's best, I've read at least three times (all in my younger days) but it's also responsible for Dan Brown so maybe that's a point against it. I only read Wittgenstein's Mistress once but it's near the top of my ever-increasing list of books to re-read, I thought it was outstanding. At the time I don't think I'd read anything quite like it. The Mezzanine is the only other I've read and is an amusing diversion.

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 11:47 (one month ago) link

is mezzanine the footnotes one?

koogs, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 11:57 (one month ago) link

Yes

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 12:17 (one month ago) link

breaking and entering

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 12:25 (one month ago) link

i may have a “vote for joy williams whenever you see her” reflex but that book is so good

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 12:30 (one month ago) link

I think this is the most I've had so far:

The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris
Oscar And Lucinda by Peter Carey
The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
Matilda by Roald Dahl
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Also think I've read Libra and the Murakami but can't remember either at all.

I was obsessed with The Shadow Lines in college so that, though the Carey is really sweet iirc

rob, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 12:55 (one month ago) link

Kicking myself for not having read Breaking and Entering yet. Will have to go with Libra, the most satisfying DeLillo IMO.

Chris L, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 13:01 (one month ago) link

Difficult for me to evaluate how much of my Matilda love is for the book and how much for the film.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 13:07 (one month ago) link

The Fifth Child

ignore the blue line (or something), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 14:09 (one month ago) link

may finally break my streak of voting for whichever murakami is on the list by opting for kitchen

oscar bravo, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 14:50 (one month ago) link

this is the atwood i shall vote for

mookieproof, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 15:05 (one month ago) link

I've only read two: Wittgenstein's Mistress and Foucault's Pendulum. I don't remember much about the Eco so this would be Wittgenstein's Mistress for me.

o. nate, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 15:50 (one month ago) link

this is the atwood i shall vote for

― mookieproof, Tuesday, July 27, 2021 11:05 AM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

Same. It’s her best, I think.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 16:33 (one month ago) link

My urge to read Foucault's Pendulum again (again) has increased considerably thanks to this poll. It probably introduced me to more conspiracy theories, and healthy scepticism - or downright derision - of such theories than I might have otherwise found in a decade of reading.

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Tuesday, 27 July 2021 18:22 (one month ago) link

I was a little obsessed with The Mezzanine as a teen, but I think Foucault's Pendulum is probably the better book. I might just have to vote with the footnotes, though.

Read a few more, of which I'll single out Kitchen for an extra nod (I know there's at least one ilxor who doesn't like Yoshimoto but I will rep for this one as great).

emil.y, Wednesday, 28 July 2021 12:59 (one month ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 29 July 2021 00:01 (one month ago) link

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

System, Friday, 30 July 2021 00:01 (one month ago) link

Forgot to vote, I might have pushed FP into the top spot.

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Friday, 30 July 2021 07:12 (one month ago) link

I forgot too. Might have given The Garlic Ballads a vote.

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 30 July 2021 07:22 (one month ago) link

I forgot too. Would have been Libra, I think.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 30 July 2021 09:36 (one month ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1989

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 30 July 2021 09:39 (one month ago) link


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