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January 24th, 2013 / 3:00 am
Excerpts

“The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction” by Larry McCaffery

Titles are below; you can read the list, complete with McCaffery’s brief thoughts on each, at LitLine (excerpting from American Book Review, Volume 20, Issue 6, September/October 1999).

1. Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov, 1962.

2. Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922.

3. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon, 1973.

4. The Public Burning, Robert Coover, 1977.

5. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929.

6. Trilogy (Molloy [1953], Malone Dies [1956], The Unnamable [1957]), Samuel Beckett.

7. The Making of Americans, Gertrude Stein, 1925.

8. Nova Trilogy (The Soft Machine [1962], Nova Express [1964], The Ticket that Exploded, [1967]), William S. Burroughs.

9. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955.

10. Finnegans Wake, James Joyce, 1941.

11. Take It or Leave It, Raymond Federman, 1975.

12. Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1986.

13. Going Native, Stephen Wright, 1994.

14. Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry, 1949.

15. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, 1927.

16. In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, William H. Gass, 1968.

17. JR, William Gaddis, 1975.

18. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952.

19. Underworld, Don DeLillo, 1997.

20. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway, 1926.

21. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce, 1916.

22. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.

23. The Ambassadors, Henry James, 1903.

24. Women in Love, D.H. Lawrence, 1921.

25. 60 Stories, Donald Barthelme, 1981.

26. The Rifles, William T. Vollmann, 1993.

27. The Recognitions, William Gaddis, 1955.

28. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, 1902.

29. Catch 22, Joseph Heller, 1961.

30. 1984, George Orwell, 1949.

31. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neal Hurston, 1937.

32. Absalom, Absalom!, William Faulkner, 1936.

33. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany, 1975.

34. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939.

35. The Four Elements Tetrology (earth: The Stain [1984], fire: Entering Fire [1986], water: The Fountains of Neptune [1992], and air: The Jade Cabinet [1993]), Rikki Ducornet.

36. Cyberspace Trilogy (Neuromancer [1984], Count Zero [1986], Mona Lisa Overdrive [1988]), William Gibson.

37. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller, 1934.

38. On the Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957.

39. Lookout Cartridge, Joseph McElroy, 1974.

40. Crash, J.G. Ballard, 1973.

41. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie, 1981.

42. The Sot-Weed Factor, John Barth, 1960.

43. Genoa, Paul Metcalf, 1965.

44. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, 1932.

45. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster, 1924.

46. Double or Nothing, Raymond Federman, 1972.

47. At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O’Brien, 1951.

48. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy, 1985.

49. The Cannibal, John Hawkes, 1949.

50. Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940.

51. The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West, 1939.

52. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes, 1936.

53. Housekeeping, Marilynn Robinson, 1981.

54. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1969.

55. Libra, Don DeLillo, 1986.

56. Wise Blood, Flannery O’Conner, 1952.

57. Always Coming Home, Ursula K. LeGuin, 1985.

58. USA Trilogy (The 42nd Parallel [1930], 1919 [1932], and The Big Money [1936]), John Dos Passos.

59. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing, 1962.

60. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951.

61. Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett, 1929.

62. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver, 1981.

63. Dubliners, James Joyce, 1915.

64. Cane, Jean Toomer, 1925.

65. The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, 1905.

66. Ridley Walker, Russell Hoban, 1982.

67. Checkerboard Trilogy (Go in Beauty [1955], The Bronc People [1958], Portrait of the Artist with 26 Horses [1962]), William Eastlake.

68. The Franchiser, Stanley Elkin, 1976.

69. New York Trilogy (City of Glass [1985], Ghosts [1986], The Locked Room [1986]), Paul Auster.

70. Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins, 1986.

71. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace, 1995.

72. The Age of Wire and String, Ben Marcus, 1996.

73. Tlooth, Harry Mathews, 1966.

74. Pricksongs and Descants, Robert Coover, 1969.

75. The Man in the High Castle, Phillip K. Dick, 1962.

76. American Psycho, Brett Easton Ellis, 1988.

77. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles, 1969.

78. The Book of the New Sun Tetrology (The Shadow of the Torturer [1980], The Claw of the Conciliator [1981], The Sword of Lictor [1982], The Citadel of the Autarch [1982]), Gene Wolfe.

79. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962.

80. Albany Trilogy (Legs [1976], Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game [1978], Ironweed [1983]), William Kennedy.

81. The Tunnel, William H. Gass, 1995.

82. Omensetter’s Luck, William H. Gass, 1966.

83. The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles, 1948.

84. Darconville’s Cat, Alexander Theroux, 1981.

85. Up, Ronald Sukenick, 1968.

86. Yellow Back Radio Broke Down, Ishamel Reed, 1969.

87. Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson, 1919.

88. You Bright and Risen Angels, William T. Vollmann, 1987.

89. The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer, 1948.

90. The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop., Robert Coover, 1968.

91. Creamy and Delicious, Steve Katz, 1971.

92. Waiting for the Barbarians, J.M. Coetzee, 1980.

93. More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon, 1951.

94. Mulligan Stew, Gilbert Sorrentino, 1979.

95. Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe, 1929.

96. An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser, 1925.

97. Easy Travels to Other Planets, Ted Mooney, 1981.

98. Tours of the Black Clock, Steve Erickson, 1989.

99. In Memoriam to Identity, Kathy Acker, 1990.

100. Hogg, Samuel R. Delany, 1996.