Monday, May 28, 2007

Canon of Future

via complete review, submissions for a literary canon of the future. Very disappointing overall but it gave me an excuse to think about my favourite contemporary (say, of the last 25 years) novels. This is what I came up with. (I know, some of them are already part of the established canon but anyway). In order:

1. The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald: Sebald is perhaps my favourite modern European writer and this is my personal favourite. The other three The Emigrants, Vertigo and Austerlitz are masterpieces too.

2. Extinction by Thomas Bernhard:
I have actually not finished it yet, around 100 pages were stil left when I set it aside for future reading. I wanted to read some other writers but I think I am still stuck in Austria. I have to get out of there soon too. Difficult to read but an undisputed masterpiece.

3. The Melancholy of Resistance by Laszlo Krasznahorkai: It won the prestigious "Dispatches from Zembla Book of the Year" award a few months ago. Need I say more?

4. The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq: People don't like him and his recent books got comparatively tepid responses too but this one is a masterpiece.

5. Atonement by Ian McEwan:
Just to clear the misconception that I like only bleak and nihilistic books (like the previous four) here is one very conventional romance/melodrama which I like very much. I am hoping the new Hollywood movie is good too.

Runners Up: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa.


jyothsnay said...

Genuinely mellifluous musical chords of congratulations to the winners for having achieved the top slots as well as for having grabbed hold of Mr Zembla's heart...:))))))
I read Extinction by Bernhard as soon as I am through with the Voice Imitator n am still fascinated by his amusingly exaggerated rants n diatribe, virtually a dark, brooding & pessimistic outlook towards life...who relentlessly probes for varied plots of a character so as to create a patch of disgusting flavour on the palms of readers' fingers and that strong penchant for "deconstructing" lives...sheer celebration of misanthropiasm* (new coin) and hatred for mortal beings as a whole
I loved "Atonement", a portrayal of young girl's life too!

Alok said...

Mr. Zembla, that sounds super-cool!!