Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1992

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The Emigrants .

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 14:36 (one year ago) link

Write-in vote for "Vox" by Nicholson Baker, with "Under the Frog" by Tibor Fischer as runner-up.

o. nate, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 15:12 (one year ago) link

The Emigrants .

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, August 10, 2021 7:36 AM (thirty-eight minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 15:15 (one year ago) link

Haven't we already had Dream Of Fair To Middling Women in a poll?

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 16:29 (one year ago) link

Jazz is sometimes my favourite Morrison.

edited for dog profanity (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 17:58 (one year ago) link

Yes, it's really something.

Heavy Messages (jed_), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 18:25 (one year ago) link

a heart so white

《Myst1kOblivi0n》 (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 18:48 (one year ago) link

Have read Clockers and White Jazz, enjoyed both. Have read the Sebald, and it was compelling and kind of hypnotic while I read it, but left me with almost no lasting impression, and I don't know why. Probably a me problem. Should try again with A Heart So White.

JoeStork, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 18:58 (one year ago) link

marías has a very distinct style which i feel would be ripe for parody and i could see disliking it, but it hits the spot for me

《Myst1kOblivi0n》 (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 19:00 (one year ago) link

i have read eight of these, i think; voting mulisch

mookieproof, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 19:18 (one year ago) link

The deeper we go into this decade the more middlebrow my reading gets, it would seem - The Secret History, Snow Crash, Black Dogs, Smilla's Snow. Unashamedly voting for The Secret History, I read it at just the right time, first or second year of uni.

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 07:54 (one year ago) link

Snow Crash, Secret History, Crow Road. i think these are givens!

but this was the year i joined that magazine bookclub that sent me all the booker prize shortlist so

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
Black Dogs (don't remember this, but do remember the cover)

plus a couple that aren't in this list (might be in last year's)
Daughters of the House
Serenity House

same book club also provided a copy of All The Pretty Horses which i didn't get around to reading for ~20 years and then loved. so voting for that.

koogs, Wednesday, 11 August 2021 08:25 (one year ago) link

Sebald, closely followed by Banks

Neil S, Wednesday, 11 August 2021 09:26 (one year ago) link

A Heart So White, followed by Sebald.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 13:18 (one year ago) link

Jazz, Pretty Horses, and Leviathan are good.

Shampoo Planet is a certain kind of fun, and definitely of its time.

English Patient is incandescently amazing though.

I was in the right demographic for Secret History - I guess - but I hated it for some reason. Clunky prose? Facile? An Ivy League idea of clever?

biz markie post malone (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 14:11 (one year ago) link

The English Patient movie >>>>>> book.

It accepts its foundational schlock.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 14:14 (one year ago) link

The Secret History was fun reading but at least, what, 200 pages too long?

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 14:14 (one year ago) link

A disfigured face is more alluring when conveyed through blind words on a page.

xp

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 August 2021 14:41 (one year ago) link

"Under the Frog" by Tibor Fischer as runner-up.

'Like reading a jockstrap' according to Tom Paulin, though I enjoyed it well enough.

Believe me, grow a lemon tree. (ledge), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 15:13 (one year ago) link

*looks up ""Under the Frog" by Tibor FIscher immediately*

Linda and Jodie Rocco (map), Wednesday, 11 August 2021 15:18 (one year ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 12 August 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link

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

System, Friday, 13 August 2021 00:01 (one year ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1993

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 13 August 2021 10:53 (one year ago) link

None of the things I liked about the English Patient were filmable. Digressions on maps and winds, naming and exteriors. The movie doesn't trouble to make the patient's identity a mystery, but the book is coy and teases the reveal. Ondaatje is my kind of writer - narratologically playful, beloved of a rich verbal surface. There's enough Carver out there for minimalists, give me a Woolfian tapestry plz

subpoena colada (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 13 August 2021 14:23 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

_The English Patient_ movie >>>>>> book.

It accepts its foundational schlock.


Awful opinion, sorry, and I love both for different reasons.

The non-linear mastery of the book is incredible. Back and forth and back and forth again we go, as the past slowly pulls into focus. The tense shifts and turns like the wind itself and it’s perfect.

His eyes lock onto the young woman’s face. If she moves her head, his stare will travel alongside her into the wall. She leans forward. How were you burned?

It is late afternoon. His hands play with a piece of sheet, the back of his fingers caressing it.

I fell burning into the desert.

They found my body and made me a boat of sticks and dragged me across the desert. We were in the Sand Sea, now and then crossing dry riverbeds. Nomads, you see. Bedouin. I flew down and the sand itself caught fire. They saw me stand up naked out of it. The leather helmet on my head in flames. They strapped me onto a cradle, a carcass boat, and feet thudded along as they ran with me. I had broken the spareness of the desert.


I fell burning into the desert. What a sentence. It’s so typical of this book, to say so much in so little. If you had to hook someone with a sentence from this book, it would be this one every time. I am not a visual person -I think in words, not images - but Ondaatje’s writing is good enough to overcome that and I could feel the desert live and breathe as the book progressed. There is nothing careless here.

There is a whirlwind in southern Morocco, the aajej, against which the fellahin defend themselves with knives. There is the africo, which has at times reached into the city of Rome. The aim, a fall wind out of Yugoslavia. The arifi, also christened aref or rifi, which scorches with numerous tongues. These are permanent winds that live in the present tense.


More of that, pulled out more or less at random. The music in Ondaatje’s prose is incredible. Read that out loud, listen to the way Rome is followed by aim, how the last sentence is almost a joke about the text itself.

In the desert the most loved waters, like a lover’s name, are carried blue in your hands, enter your throat. One swallows absence. A woman in Cairo curves the white length of her body up from the bed and leans out of the window into a rainstorm to allow her nakedness to receive it.

I mean, come ON.

They are in the botanical garden, near the Cathedral of All Saints. She sees one tear and leans forward and licks it, taking it into her mouth. As she has taken the blood from his hand when he cut himself cooking for her. Blood. Tear. He feels everything is missing from his body, feels he contains smoke. All that is alive is the knowledge of future desire and want. What he would say he cannot say to this woman whose openness is like a wound, whose youth is not mortal yet. He cannot alter what he loves most in her, her lack of compromise, where the romance of the poems she loves still sits with ease in the real world. Outside these qualities he knows there is no order in the world.


Schlock my hole, this man writes like he’s painting and it’s exquisite stuff.

I love the film too, for its attempt to put the evocative desert into something tangible but it never quite manages it the way the book does. The book is special and it’s full of a million quiet little jewels like the above. You are forever reading a page and getting your eyes stuck reading and rereading the same sentence or paragraph again because you know you will continue on and lose it when you come to the next wonder. It’s great.

suggest bainne (gyac), Monday, 8 November 2021 19:13 (ten months ago) link

The music in Ondaatje’s prose is incredible. Yeah, and Coming Through Slaughter is a strong song, his own form of speculative fiction, as it should be, given how little is known about Buddy Bolden: legendary trumpet player who seems never to have recorded, ran a barbershop x gossip sheet, died in an asylum.

dow, Monday, 8 November 2021 19:50 (ten months ago) link

Yeah English Patient remains among my favorite books. Didn't love the movie.

Not in the cliche "WAAAH, THEY CHANGED THINGS" way of prissy book-loving people. But as I said earlier, none of the things I liked about the book were filmable. The filmable story is a different story, and requires a different kind of storytelling. I'm generally okay with that but, yawn. A large percentage of the book only slightly involves the characters and who's doing what to whom. A movie is generally going to be about the stuff that happens. But there are so many cool things in the text that aren't about stuff happening or people saying things.

actually, it's "in which we're livin'." (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 8 November 2021 19:54 (ten months ago) link

I love Coming Through Slaughter and In the Skin of A Lion so much but really struggled with The English Patient. This is making me want to give it another go.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 8 November 2021 21:23 (ten months ago) link

i would try reading the english patient becauee someone i know was very into ondaatje's poetry but i dont think i could make it through a whole novel of ralph fiennes

plax (ico), Tuesday, 9 November 2021 21:24 (ten months ago) link

You can picture something more soothing instead, like the sound of oven cleaner hitting a cast iron pan

suggest bainne (gyac), Tuesday, 9 November 2021 21:25 (ten months ago) link

ok taking notes

plax (ico), Tuesday, 9 November 2021 21:27 (ten months ago) link


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