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Top Twenty books of fiction since 2000…

Over at The Millions, regular contributors and 48 favoured writers, editors and critics were  asked “What are the best books of fiction of the millennium, so far?” Here are the results:

#20: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
#19: American Genius, A Comedy by Lynne Tillman
#18: Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
#17: The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
#16: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
#15: Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis
#14: Atonement by Ian McEwan
#13: Mortals by Norman Rush
#12: Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg
#11: The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
#10: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
#9: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
#8: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
#7: Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
#6: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
#5: Pastoralia by George Saunders
#4: 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
#3: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
#2: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
#1: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

I’m not averse to this kind of exercise, not to the extent Steve Crowe is at least. Lists are great, so long as they are rooted in decent argument. Criticism involves just this; great works are those which are able to stand up over time to attacks and scrutiny, I see The Millions’ effort as simply an early start on the canonization process. What’s predictable, and a bit depressing from the standpoint of the authors, is that, if we grant that ‘greatness’ appears perhaps once a decade or so, then in 50 or 100 years only one or two of these twenty titles will be remembered let alone read or revered.


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2 Responses to “Top Twenty books of fiction since 2000…”

  1. Stephen Crowe Says:

    I’d say it’s a very very very early start for the canonization process. It’s the equivalent of the canonization process getting up to pee in the middle of the night.

  2. Nigel Beale Says:

    Is this like a twinkle in his eye?

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