Thursday, May 11, 2006

Underwhelmed

The New York Times Book Review polled "a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages" on the best American novel of the past quarter century. The winner: Toni Morrison's Beloved. I've never read the book and so won't pretend to pass judgment on it, but whatever its merits, it strikes me as a safe choice, well-suited for our Oprah-fied culture, but not an enduring masterpiece. (I'm somewhat biased: while reading it for an American literature class, I threw Morrison's Playing in the Dark across my dorm room in college. Make of that what you will.)

If only Philip Roth (who has seven books on the list) weren't so dang prolific. And at least Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian was a runner up.

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