“While we differ in our response to literary theory – one of us is hostile to it, the other cannot have enough of it – we were as one in our determination to ignore the distinction between so-called popular fiction and literary fiction (also so-called.) … The critical dividing line between popular and literary also ignores the reader and the writer, who rarely contemplate the novel in this way.” (Two original quotations, Introduction, page 6)
Theme and Content
Colm Tóibín and Carmen Callil are well-known authors. This book includes two hundred novels written since 1950 by English-speaking authors from all over the world.
The books begins with an introduction where the two authors explain their intention to show that the modern novel flourishes more than ever before, but that it too has changed during these fifty years between 1950 and 2000. Their intense research led to one hundred and ninety-four own choices for readers of every age and taste, and six novels chosen by their readers. As the two authors are from different countries and they have different preferences, any list of this kind is also somehow personal, but they always have looked for a certain quality, an excitement in the reading and the feeling to want to give this book to someone else to read.
The introduction is followed by a list of titles in order of publication, because the entries are alphabetical under the name of the author. Each recommended novel has one page with descriptions of genre, themes, form, characters, content and the intentions of the author. On the bottom of each page, there you can find information about the author. This main part is followed by lists of Autobiographies and memoirs, Literary biographies, Poetry, Autobiographies and memoirs by novelists chosen in this book, Literary biographies of novelists chosen in this book and several lists of Literary Prizewinners from Bookers Prize to Novel Awards, ending with the Index of Titles.
An entertaining, delightful and interesting guide that leads us through fifty years of modern fiction and books we might know and love and others, new for us, that make us curious and immediately end up on our “want-to-read”-list. A timeless, enjoyable read.