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:
• 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.