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Thread: Best first novel...???
08-16-2010, 05:42 PM #1
Best first novel...???
Okay, So I'm wondering....what author, in your opinion, has come out with the best first novel? I realize that the term "best" has limitations, as one's 'best' is someone else's 'worst'...but give it a try.
My own pick would have to be "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. I think that one would be hard to beat as a 'first' novel. It is just as poignant today as the day it was written. Turns out, it was her ONLY novel.
I guess if a person maybe only has one book in them, better make a good one. Sure, she only wrote one book, but just how many of Sue Grafton's bazillion books make it into the "literature' section?
What's your take?
08-16-2010, 07:53 PM #2
I can't say I've read enough to make a well-formed opinion, but I suppose nobody is familiar with every author....that being the case:
Last Exit to Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr.
If it's not the best, it was at least groundbreaking in a few ways.
08-16-2010, 08:06 PM #3
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and the mother of all first novels, The Catcher in the Rye.
Last edited by Stu Gotz; 08-16-2010 at 08:55 PM.Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well.
08-16-2010, 08:36 PM #4
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is my top three of favorite novels. The book is an absolute gem. I cannot think of a better first novel.
Honorable Mention: Hemingway "The Sun Also Rises"
08-16-2010, 08:42 PM #5features a sintered base
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Calling Mockingbird a first novel is a little weird since I think it's an only novel. Like Invisible Man.
I'd have trouble calling Mockingbird a great novel, though. It's certainly a middle school classic, but comparing Harper Lee to Joyce, or Faulkner, or Hemingway (or 50-100 other novelists) seems a stretch to me.
The other thing about novelists is I wouldn't rule out the possibility that for many novelists their first novel actually is their best. I can't say myself as I don't know enough offhand about the order in which books by certain authors were written.[quote][//quote]
08-16-2010, 09:04 PM #6Lord King of the Beater-Kooks
08-16-2010, 09:21 PM #7
Both, which are all his publishing's, were published post-mortem. That has to count for something.
08-16-2010, 09:24 PM #8
Journey to the End of the Night - hands down the best first novel of the 20th Century. YMMV.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Dirty Work by Larry Brown
I'm on the road and away from my library, I'm sure I am missing a few.
I am partial to the Pickwick Papers, only because my second fake ID was under the name Alfred Jingle."Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
-- Jack Tackle
08-16-2010, 10:00 PM #9
Another vote for One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest. Amazing novel, and his first.
And while it's not technically a novel, Desert Solitaire deserves a mention.Skiing, whether you're in Wisconsin or the Alps, is a dumbass hick country sport that takes place in the middle of winter on a mountain at the end of a dirt road.
08-17-2010, 05:38 AM #10
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney.crab in my shoe mouth
08-17-2010, 08:22 AM #11
08-17-2010, 08:29 AM #12Registered User
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The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu
08-17-2010, 02:30 PM #13
Another first novel that I really love is A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. No doubt it is still required reading in most high school lit classes, but it is such for a reason and not merely by happenstance. I just love the fluidity with which the words flow...like a gentle stream.
Another good first novel, although somewhat juvenile and by no means the height of literature, is Bless the Beasts and the Children, by Glendon Swarthout. I'm taken by that book because it reminds me of my own childhood and my childhood friends.
Dexter: I wouldn't write-off To Kill a Mockingbird as a mere "middle school" read. Her character development and description was first-rate. Incidently, To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the few instances where the movie it spawned was EVERY bit as good as the book...perhaps better in some ways. The movie is easily on my list of top 20 best movies.
08-17-2010, 03:35 PM #14
Wow. There are some heavy hitters.
...Hemingway, Salinger, Heller....and I was going to say The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian"My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." M. Thatcher (RIP)
Judges smoke it, even the lawyer too...So you've got to legalize it..." Peter Tosh
08-17-2010, 03:45 PM #15
Cosmic Banditos by A.C. Weisbecker, was a great first novel. Drugs, Rebels, and Quantum Physics.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with a sense of humor and a eye for science.
08-17-2010, 04:28 PM #16"Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
-- Jack Tackle