Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2001

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Poll Results

Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald 8
The Rotter's Club by Jonathan Coe 3
Soldiers Of Salamis by Javier Cercas 2
Repitition by Alain Robbe-Grillet 2
The Other Wind by Ursula K Le Guin 2
At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill 1
Middle Age: A Romance by Joyce Carol Oates 1
American Gods by Neil Gaiman 1
Bel Canto by Ann Pattchett 1
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk 1
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen 1
Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold 1
Eagles And Angels by Juli Zeh 0
Pages Stained With Blood by Mamoni Raisom Goswami 0
The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones 0
Satan Burger by Carlton Mellick III 0
It's Getting Later All The Time by Antonio Tabucchi 0
Underdog by Torbjörn Flygt 0
Angst by Oleg Postnov 0
By The Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah 0
Flight Without A Tun by Miho Mosulishvili 0
This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun 0
Frozen Tracks by Ake Edwardson 0
The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen 0
King Of The Rattling Spirits by Miha Mazzini 0
The Kukotsky Enigma by Lyudmila Ulitskaya 0
The Last Summer Of Reason by Tahar Djaout 0
The Restless Supermarket by Ivan Vladislavic 0
The Sexual Life Of Catherine M. by Catherine Millet 0
The Biographer's Tale by A.S. Byatt 0
Sandalwood Death by Mo Yan 0
Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate 0
Erasure by Percival Everett 0
John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead 0
Just A Couple Of Days by Tony Vigorito 0
The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy 0
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane 0
Passage by Connie Willis 0
Dirt Music by Tim Winton 0
Atonement by Ian McEwan 0
The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré 0
Half Life by V.S. Naipaul 0
Hotel World by Ali Smith 0
My Summer Of Love by Helen Cross 0
number9dream by David Mitchell 0
Something Like A House by Sid Smith 0
The Siege by Helen Dunmore 0
The Sweetest Dream by Doris Lessing 0
Three To See The King by Magnus Mills 0
The Curse Of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold 0

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 15 October 2021 09:52 (one year ago) link

Voting for the Javier Cercas, engrossing novel about the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War. Roberto Bolano makes a cameo appearence.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 15 October 2021 09:53 (one year ago) link

Funnily enough I'm reading The Rotters Club right now, a much stranger book than I was anticipating, some parts (generally the comedy) are terrible, and should have been cut, the central characters are not that well-drawn, but on the whole I'm still entranced by it, just the sheer ambition, the world-building, the variety and the restlessness.

Was largely blank until I saw Austerlitz, which is good enough to win any year.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 15 October 2021 10:26 (one year ago) link

Sadly a novella, otherwise I'm sure it'd be the runaway winner:


Daniel_Rf, Friday, 15 October 2021 10:31 (one year ago) link

A year of books I started and gave up on

Bel Canto -- I remembered halfway through that I don't like opera. The back of the book had an author interview where she said she didn't really like opera either.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen -- professor banging his student in the first chapter
Atonement by Ian McEwan -- purple prose, false rape accusation

adam t. (abanana), Friday, 15 October 2021 10:41 (one year ago) link

i saw someone saying recently that they wouldn't spoil Hardy's Tess by re-reading it. that's kinda how i feel about American Gods. but it's that or nothing.

koogs, Friday, 15 October 2021 10:43 (one year ago) link

I liked the film of Atonement, but from experience am steering clear of all post-80s McEwan.
Read American Gods but it just didn't grab me, I can barely remember it now.
The Corrections had some well-worked & memorable set pieces, but as a whole seemed like a big load of nothing much.

Read two of these and will vote for neither, although minor Mills is still good stuff obviously

imago, Friday, 15 October 2021 11:40 (one year ago) link

there are a lot of terrible wrong 'uns on this list too

look on my guacs, ye mighty, and dis pear (Noodle Vague), Friday, 15 October 2021 11:57 (one year ago) link

sometimes i wonder if i'm unfair to David Mitchell because he shares his name with a cunt but then i remember i've read some of his work and no i'm not being unfair

look on my guacs, ye mighty, and dis pear (Noodle Vague), Friday, 15 October 2021 11:58 (one year ago) link

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen -- professor banging his student in the first chapter

i think i liked this book okay, but all i can really remember about it is that the student’s name was that of my former sister-in-law

mookieproof, Friday, 15 October 2021 12:39 (one year ago) link

austerlitz is gonna run away with this. i made my contribution

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 15 October 2021 13:40 (one year ago) link

I'm back on zero for this year. Atonement was definitely after I'd stopped reading McEwans, and I was mostly out of the self-important middle-brow man hole at this point.

At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill - this I remember as being a right fucking pain in my life. It was the cause of several conversations where someone mentioned it and I was all "oh, you mean At Swim, Two Birds?", get nothing but a blank look or maybe some mockery, and then be so unconfident in my own brain that I would think I invented a book that didn't exist. Accidental gaslighting, thanks everyone.

Also, anyone read the Robbe-Grillet from this year? I hadn't realised he was still working at this point.

emil.y, Friday, 15 October 2021 13:47 (one year ago) link

Another year, another David Mitchell novel I own but haven't got round to reading. Other than that I got nothing.

let the gaslighting begin (Matt #2), Friday, 15 October 2021 14:13 (one year ago) link

I have read number9dream but have zero recollection. I apparently have more time for McEwan than most people here, iirc (possibly not) Atonement is a pretty great last flourish of talent before he went completely to pot. Might vote for Le Guin though, not the best book of the series but a fine and transformative culmination.

ledge, Friday, 15 October 2021 14:47 (one year ago) link

I may have said it better on whichever What Are You Reading?, but here's how I put it on The Sebald Fiction Poll

The only one I've read (so far!) is Austerlitz, the edition with James Wood's handy intro (he's also got a couple of Sebald commentaries on lrb and newyorker). Looking at the takes on other books here, I suspect Sebald's even more self-aware here, deliberately putting (most of) his own persona/voice in the narrator's occasional encounters with the long and winding, musically associative, gradually and compulsively accruing momentum of Austerlitz the outsider pilgrim---results: beautiful (go A. go). What a swan song.

― dow, Monday, October 11, 2021 6:31 PM (four days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Putting most of it in the narrative-within-the narrative, I mean, as in Heart of Darkness.

― dow, Monday, October 11, 2021

dow, Friday, 15 October 2021 16:00 (one year ago) link

I’ve read 0 of these.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Friday, 15 October 2021 16:25 (one year ago) link

also, shit me at American Gods being 20 years old

koogs, Friday, 15 October 2021 17:04 (one year ago) link

Voting Austerlitz, but the only other one I've read is American Gods, which I didn't like.

jmm, Friday, 15 October 2021 17:10 (one year ago) link

austerlitz without a second thought, though i've only read one other of these ("the corrections," i remember it being very sanctimonious?). spinning so much beauty out of trauma is unreal.

Linda and Jodie Rocco (map), Friday, 15 October 2021 17:13 (one year ago) link

the problem with "the great american novel" is that america as a subject blows imo

Linda and Jodie Rocco (map), Friday, 15 October 2021 17:14 (one year ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 18 October 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link

I've been in a book club for 20+ years. We read and then discuss about 6-8 books a year, all fiction.

I remember At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill as one of my favorites

Dan S, Monday, 18 October 2021 22:34 (one year ago) link

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

System, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2002

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 10:25 (one year ago) link

s/o to the other Cercas voter

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 10:42 (one year ago) link

I think I forgot to vote in this but would've voted "Austerlitz" as well. The only other one I've read is "Atonement" which was pretty good, but not good enough to compete with the melancholy, mysterious mood of the Sebald.

o. nate, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 15:34 (one year ago) link

i shuffled between austerlitz and cercas and ended up voting for the latter (s/o to you too Daniel_Rf). Soldiers of Salamis was a great read, made even more enjoyable by Bolano's cameo, as i read this right after finishing the savage detectives

Jibe, Wednesday, 20 October 2021 09:31 (one year ago) link

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