Shortly before my arrival in England,I browsed extensively through the list of all books published by Vintage Classics in the bid to discover some ‘gems’.While there were the usual Faulkners,Hemingways,or Fitzgeralds,I also stumbled upon some books unknown to me which,after investigation,happen to be winners or nominees of prestigious literary competitions or simply ones that had a significant impact on its audience.
1.So Long,See You Tomorrow – William Maxwell
Weird title,isn’t it? In association with Vintage Classics,the Orange Fiction Prize publishes a book which the winner would pass to the next generation.When Ann Patchett won,she chose So Long,See You Tomorrow,saying of the book: “The novel comes from a place so deep inside the human soul that I cannot imagine a time its wisdom would not feel fresh and applicable”.Now how can I not read this book??
2.Blindness – Jose Saramago
A book by a Nobel Prize winner.Here is the premise: ”A driver waiting at the traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks. It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs. And when fire destroys the asylum, the inmates burst forth and the last links with a supposedly civilised society are snapped. No food, no water, no government, no obligation, no order. This is not anarchy, this is blindness.” The plot might give you a feeling of deja-vu,but I’m sure it’ll be different.It seems to be very intelligently written and is considered a classic among people who read lesser known books.I’m expecting great things from it.
3.A Void – George Perec
That is one very special book: it comprises more than 300 pages,yet is written without the letter ‘e’!! What is all the more special is that,though it was originally written in French,the letter ‘e’ is still nowhere to be found in the English translation.Kudos to the translator and the author! I think this is a must-read for any lover of literature.
4.The Pied Piper – Nevil Shute
This is one of the many books by Nevil Shute I want to read.This is basically a story about a man protecting (Jewish?) children from the Nazis.I like how the name ‘Pied Piper’ was used in a different context here.It looks very powerful and,especially,very realistic.
5.See Under Love – David Grossman
This book received some really rave reviews from quite a few critics.Read the premise and you’ll see some similarities with Emma Donoghue’s Room; however Grossman’s novel seems more poignant.It is an intriguing book,for the same stories are told to both a young kid and a Nazi commandant.They (the stories) will end up causing an impact,and I wonder which one it will be.
6.Our Man in Havana – Graham Greene
The premise is pretty simple,but intriguing enough for the book to be added to my wishlist.The title more or less reminds me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s No One Writes to the Colonel,another book I want to read,so I’m really curious as to how this seemingly ordinary story will unfold itself.I have faith in it! Haha.
7.A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
This one is not published by Vintage Classics.I just came across it when taking a survey for the Folio Society regarding books members would like to buy in the future.I googled the name and was surprised at the ratings given to this book: 4.3 on goodreads,for example!! It won and was nominated for many,many prizes.It is set in India and I wonder if it will be as good as The God of Small Things,an absolute favourite of mine.Honestly,if you haven’t checked this out,well,you should now! 🙂
8.The Foundation Pit – Andrey Platonov
This book is very often compared to Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s A Brave New World.The premise is gloomy but what else could you expect from a Russian who wrote in the Stalin-era? Many see it as a masterpiece,citing Platonov as the best Russian writer to emerge after the Russian revolution.An important work for sure.
9.Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
Remarkably big,Sophie’s Choice is a book whose premise you can’t be indifferent to.The title itself evokes your curiosity: what is Sophie’s choice? It also got a very nice 4.2 on goodreads for a little more than 52,000 views! Not bad at all!
10.God Bless You,Mr Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Apparently Vonnegut’s funniest satire – and that is something! I just want some food for thought while having a good laugh.This book with the funny title seems to suit my purpose! Also very well-rated on goodreads!