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WHAT IS THE GREATEST NOVEL OF ALL TIME?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – It is about love, money, ambition, vanity and power—in short, it is about everything that matters in life.

Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House



The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. Set in Sicily in 1860, this gorgeous, tragic, poetic novel describes the declining fortunes of the stoical romantic aristocrat Don Fabrizio and his family in the wake of italian reunification. “To stay the same, you’ve got to change,” says one worldly wise character, but Fabrizio prefers astronomy.

–  Katha Pollitt, author of Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories, and ReadThis board member


Since I really I can’t get my head around naming just one book, I’ll pick an all-time favorite that was, in fact, never completed. The Man Without Qualities, I believe, could have been the greatest novel of all time, better than the Bible and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, even, if only Robert Musil had lived a little longer. As it stands it is a brilliant, mordant and wonderfully nuanced portrait of a society (in this case the Austro-Hungarian Empire) so absorbed in celebrating itself it cannot recognize the approach of its demise.

– Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

One Comments

  1. It’s a toss-up between Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Both are compelling, highly original discourses on the stasis and stupidity at the center of human life, with glimpses of possible redemption.

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