Great ___ Novel

Today’s Booking through Thursday:

What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good.

Now, I know that not all of you are American–but you can play, too! What I want from you is to know what you consider to the best novel of YOUR country. It might be someone the rest of us haven’t heard of and, frankly, I think we’d all like to get some new authors to read.

In fact, while we’re at it–I’m curious about the geographical make-up of this meme. So, while you’re leaving your link to your post, tell us where in the world you are! (For the record, I’m in New Jersey, USA.)

The great American (I’m in Pennsylvania, USA) novel, eh? I think there are about a gazillion of them. A few that I think especially merit mention are:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. Love, war, friendship, class issues, the fantastic–this novel has them all and deftly explores not only what it is to be American but also what it is to be alive. When I finished this book I was genuinely sad–not because of the content of the ending, but because of the ending itself. I cared so much about the characters that I wanted to see what their futures held.

Empire Falls, by Richard Russo. More great characters, and a seemingly small-town story that is epic in its treatment of the issues and questions we all deal with.

4 Responses to “Great ___ Novel”

  1. Callistaon 06 Jul 2007 at 12:06 am

    Hmm never heard of them. Thanks for the recommendations. Come see what I chose.

  2. Jeanon 06 Jul 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Kavalier and Clay – yes! That was one of my finalists. What a great book, spanning so many years and themes and so well told. I really enjoyed it and am glad it was someone’s first choice.

  3. Imperatrixon 10 Jul 2007 at 8:43 pm

    This question is too hard. Here I am websurfing to de-stress, and now I have to name the best American novel?


    OK. Thomas Pynchon’sGravity’s Rainbow.
    “You? Never. Did the Kenosha Kid?”


  4. Marshaon 11 Jul 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I have to admit that I’ve never made my way to Gravity’s Rainbow. I suppose I should some time…