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February 9, 2012

TT: All-American

Apropos of absolutely nothing, here's a list of the ten American novels I most wish I'd written.

Note that I didn't say best or greatest or significant or anything so highfalutin. This is a purely personal inventory, reflective only of admiration, love, and--if a reader who has no gift whatsoever for the writing of prose fiction can use the word--identification. These books speak to me, and if I could write a novel, they collectively represent the kind of novel I'd like to write:

deathcomes_forthearchbishop.jpg• Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

• James Gould Cozzens, Guard of Honor

• F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

• John P. Marquand, Point of No Return

• William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow

• Edwin O'Connor, The Edge of Sadness

• Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

• Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King

• Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

• Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

UPDATE: Patrick Kurp responds, thoughtfully as always. Some of his picks, not surprisingly, came within inches of making my list.

Posted February 9, 2012 12:00 AM

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