Here’s a little taste of ten books that made quite an impression on me. Enjoy and come back for more, if you like them.
Ways of Going Home, by Alejandro Zambra. Forget Bolaño: if you’re looking for good Chilean literature, Zambra is your man. His prose and the use of literary devices such as meta-fiction make this little novel an outstanding read.
The World of Yesterday: Memories of an European, by Stefan Zweig. This is by far the best autobiography I’ve read, the next two being J.G. Ballard’s Miracles of Life and Jorge Luis Borges’ Autobiographical Notes. Zweig doesn’t talk about himself as much as talk about the people he met and the events he witnessed. As it turns out, he happened to meet a lot of interesting people and get involved in many historical events.
The End of Alice, by A.M. Homes. Blend of Lolita and The Silence of the Lambs, this book is best described as a puzzle the reader must piece together. Don’t blame me if you don’t like what you see at the end: I never said it would be nice.
In the Miso Soup, Ryū Murakami. Perhaps my favourite Japanese novel, it tells the story of a touristic guide that must take an American stranger whom he suspects a murderer into the sordid nightlife of Tokyo sex clubs.
The Master of Go, by Yasunari Kawabata. In contrast to the previous novel, this book by the first Japanese Nobel Prize laureate chronicles the real-life match of Go that took place in 1938. Kawabata himself considered it his finest work, and so do I.
Goat Mountain, by David Vann. In my opinion, this is one of Vann’s best novels, possibly only second to Aquarium. It raises issues concerning family, violence and justice through the story of a boy who shoots a man while going hunting with his father, his grandfather and a friend of the family.
An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ishiguro’s second novel’s themes range between aging, memory and the role of art in Japanese post-World-War-Two society.
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, by Cormac McCarthy. Harold Bloom’s favourite 20th Century work, and quite possibly one of the most important novels written in the past decades. Well-researched and beautifully written, its most outstanding feature is the character of the Judge.
Sartoris, by William Faulkner
The Ghost, by Robert Harris