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Discussion Starter #41
Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

I personally prefer "1984", one of the most visionary works ever. But "Animal Farm" is great too.
Agreed, same here.

I've just realised it's been over 20 years when I read these books in the high school.
So you must be somewhere between 35-37 then? There is roughly 9-10 years in age between us mate. Good to have some experience here. :)
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

The best corrently polish novelists:

Olga Tokarczuk (born 1964)
Dorota Masłowska (born 1983)
Jerzy Pilch (born 1952)
Jakub Małecki (born 1982)
Wojciech Kuczok (born 1972)
Jacek Dukaj (born 1974)
Wiesław Myśliwski (born 1932)
Łukasz Orbitowski (born 1977)
Szczepan Twardoch (born 1979)
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

Thank you very much Roxi!



Loved his Of Mice and Men. Bought East of Eden a month ago, waiting to get read, will do, defo in my list. I noted the other two, thank you.



Great list ssin, I would also put Albert Camus on my list, big fan of him. But very tough indeed to create something like top 10 global novelists.



Great list as well mate. Sartre is fantastic, his 'Nausea' and 'Existentialism Is a Humanism' are classic beauty, although the subject is not that beautiful..

Well about George Orwell, what can be said? Definitely was ahead of his time. Which one you liked more, Animal Farm or 1984? Terrific author.
Orwell was incredible--his essays are also among the best every written, there are over a dozen volumes of them.
Animal Farm was probably the first book of literature I feel in love with as a teenager. And how true it all remains! Ditto for 1984--Big Brother keeps changing names but he is always present. Now he's Google.

This is one things that separates literature from fiction (meaning a million books have been written but only a few continue to resonate) whatever the author had to say remains true (or beautiful or sad or funny) 100 years later.

Top ten lists of novelists is pretty impossible, even more contentious than tennis GOATS, but literary types don't fight over it. Writers, academics and critics usually cite Ullysses (almost unreadable) Proust (ditto) Dosteyevski, Tolstoy.

My GOAT novel is Anna Karenina/Tolstoy, GOAT short story writer Chekhov (universally agreed upon by those in the know.)
Some posters here are talking about Hemingway--those that love him should check out the Russian story writer Isaac Babel--he wrote in the same sparse, minimal style well before Hemingway.

Of the contemporary writers, my favourites are overwhelmingly the Americans--Eugenides, Franzen, Annie Proulx (SHipping News) and the story writers Lorrie Moore, Charles Baxter, Lucia Berlin, just a few to start.

I also loved Edith Wharton, Melville, Calvino, Nabokov, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Cheever ... again too many to start listing

There are more amazing books than there is time in life to read them. Especially if you watch binge TV and tennis as well.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

Top ten lists of novelists is pretty impossible, even more contentious than tennis GOATS, but literary types don't fight over it. Writers, academics and critics usually cite Ullysses (almost unreadable) Proust (ditto) Dosteyevski, Tolstoy.
ahhh yes Proust must be up there among the greatest. Ulysses, to my recollection was not unreadable, once you catch the "trick" it's actually realism on another level. Because this is what actually happens. But you should try Finnegans Wake if you think Ulysses was almost unreadable. I did try and can't remember if I managed to finish it, I think I didn't. :grin2:
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

ahhh yes Proust must be up there among the greatest. Ulysses, to my recollection was not unreadable, once you catch the "trick" it's actually realism on another level. Because this is what actually happens. But you should try Finnegans Wake if you think Ulysses was almost unreadable. I did try and can't remember if I managed to finish it, I think I didn't. :grin2:
Yes I tried Finnegan's Wake also, several times, when I was in college. Never made it!
I was way more interested in modernist experimental literature then (because that's what it is, along with Beckett Woolf, Stein Pound etc.) than I am now.
I did love Joyce's more straighforward novel, Portrait of the Artist as YOung Man
There is some current stream of consciousness writing I love--Lydia Davis is the contemporary master, I love her short strange fragments.
Knausgard is the modern attempt at Proust, obviously, and i can't read him either.
But I acknowledge these things are great, just not for me.
I also tried Beckett again. No go! I can't go on, I'll go on. LOL

Have you read Knut Hamsun's Hunger? I loved that. I think it's the original template for a lot of modernist writing that followed ...

I am into some experimental writing, just not epic tomes about madeline cakes, or stay at home dad's daily routines.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

That's a good observation, maybe closest to my personal sensibility is the only one from the list still living and working. But I absolutely love Hemingway's direct and simple style with so much unsaid but understood beneath. A genius is genius regardless of style and time, I like everything, older literature, modernists, postmodernists and those that cannot be easily classified. Maybe I am not so keen on novels from Romanticism but I have enjoyed some works from that period too. T.S. Eliot criticism remains my literary yardstick forever. As I said, pity I don't read that much any more, I am immersed in "low culture" and popular stuff these days when I have time, movies, comics, games etc. It takes time and some special preparation for me to absorb a work of "high culture" whether it is a novel or a film. There are films for example that I have already seen but it can take days to prepare to watch them again.


So true, this last bit ...It's so much easier to get lost in a great binge TV show or tennis than a challenging non-Hollywood film or dense novel, particularly anything before the 20th century.

Our minds go too fast now and want instant gratification. You have to slow down to read.
I remember start Steinbeck's Grapes of wrath recently and not able to get past a 10 page description of scorched earth, or a dialogue that went on for 20 pages--even though they were both amazing.

I do my best reading in blackouts.

I will say though a really good binge TV show or tennis tournament (over the course of a week) has alot in common with a great novel--a multitude of great characters, a plot that develops and the question of how it will all turn out.

It occurred to me recently how watching a tennis tournament daily is a bit like binge TV.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

Big Brother keeps changing names but he is always present. Now he's Google.
There are several search engines that function by searching only for what user defined. It's amazing how much information is censored by google if you search for anything remotely out of mainstream line. Even non-controversial searches on google result in several pages of mostly disguised ads. Sadly, most people think google is their only option.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

Me too, and I personally blame Internet for that. The biggest time killer that has ever been born.
Yes and no. I've read a s**tload of text on the Internet over the years, granted, it's probably not something in the same class as the Nobel laureates, but I'm fine with that. :D
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

@Roxitova - Absolutely, if a modern reader, especially in the West, tries for example Dostoevsky today (except Crime and Punishment) they will find their insides chewed, eviscerated and spit out. Dostoevsky was never very accessible to the Western reader. And today it must be a true feat that demands mental and spiritual discipline, I would say even physical fitness, with the power to be transported far away. But if one manages through all the gutwrenching mindfuck (that's how it would be described today for sure), there is reward. It was years ago but I remember for example the part from The Brothers Karamazov where Ivan meets the devil, I still get goosebumps, it's not reading it is an experience of going down to hell, seeing the actual face of it and living to tell about it. You feel there is nothing fictional about it and I was sure it was Dostoevsky's real experience. I have neither discipline nor strength now for something like that. :D Out of the American writers I had somewhat similar intensive experience with Faulkner. Not quite like that, but similar.

Maybe we can agree that papa Hemingway is the GOAT at the end of the day :grin2: Easy to read but rich with subtext as the Bible. Or maybe we could just switch completely to stories, of course Chekhov is the master, it is not by chance that he is more influential worldwide, especially in the West, than Dostoevsky. I like good stories like everyone else, closer to the instant gratification.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

@Roxitova - Absolutely, if a modern reader, especially in the West, tries for example Dostoevsky today (except Crime and Punishment) they will find their insides chewed, eviscerated and spit out. Dostoevsky was never very accessible to the Western reader. And today it must be a true feat that demands mental and spiritual discipline, I would say even physical fitness, with the power to be transported far away. But if one manages through all the gutwrenching mindfuck (that's how it would be described today for sure), there is reward. It was years ago but I remember for example the part from The Brothers Karamazov where Ivan meets the devil, I still get goosebumps, it's not reading it is an experience of going down to hell, seeing the actual face of it and living to tell about it. You feel there is nothing fictional about it and I was sure it was Dostoevsky's real experience. I have neither discipline nor strength now for something like that. :D Out of the American writers I had somewhat similar intensive experience with Faulkner. Not quite like that, but similar.

Maybe we can agree that papa Hemingway is the GOAT at the end of the day :grin2: Easy to read but rich with subtext as the Bible. Or maybe we could just switch completely to stories, of course Chekhov is the master, it is not by chance that he is more influential worldwide, especially in the West, than Dostoevsky. I like good stories like everyone else, closer to the instant gratification.
I love your description of modern readers and Dost, though there are two issues getting mixed into one: one is the lack of attention span, the other is a lack of receptivity to subjects of spiritual depth, subjects that address that embarrassing word--the soul. Though I have to also guess these two issues are related.

But our tastes are different I'm afraid, though I do recognize Dost's greatness.
His writing is too steeped in Christian guilt for my taste (like Joyce's writing is too steeped in Cathoic guilt over over sex) I was first introduced to him by a fallen seminarian (haha that's a would be priest who has lost his faith) Brothers K, I was very young then, 16; but I tried later with C and P and the Underground Man. I could see how exquisite the writing is, but the material did nothing for me--I'm an aetheist and find religion absurd. *Lightning strikes her, now!*

So I prefer Tolstoi, where man struggles with the hypocrisies of society and lust vs. duty and the inadequacies of his own soul, etc. etc. though Tolstoi also went Christian crazy at the end.
Isaac Babel said of Tolstoi "If life could write itself, it would write like Tolstoi."

Your comparison to Faulkner from Dost is dead on, though it's a mysterious resemblance. Faulkner is heavy! I loved Light in August many decades ago but have been unable to read Faulkner since. Another American writer who gets that "biblical" feel going is Cormac McCarthy--he writes in 3rd omniscient alot (that's part of what gives these particular writers their gravity, the god point of view) but i find him kind of a sham, though he is greatly admired by so many.

Hemingway GOAT??? That's way worse than Federer GOat!!!!! hehe. I'm not a Hem fan I have to say, especially not of the novels, I am totally aware of why the stories are so admired, and maybe someday I will change my mind but give me Babel any day over Hem.

So then if you love Hem if should love Raymond Carver too? He is the modern heir to Hem, among others.

The Canadian story writer Alice Munro is considered unanimously by writers to be the greatest living story writer, though many men may be slow to warm to her

Stories are less of a time commitment than novels and can be consumed in one sitting. But no less of an art! Stories sit somewhere in the middle between novels and poetry. But for most readers in N America, stories are of little interest, unfortunately.
I love it all--memoir, essays, poetry, etc. etc.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

There are several search engines that function by searching only for what user defined. It's amazing how much information is censored by google if you search for anything remotely out of mainstream line. Even non-controversial searches on google result in several pages of mostly disguised ads. Sadly, most people think google is their only option.
Yes, lately google is worse, the search results feel so limited and controlled. At first I could find a lot of useful things from google searches; not so anymore.

And I feel slightly uncomfortable even saying anything bad about google on the internet. LOL
I don't want to anger them/it.

What are some other search engines that are good? As far as I could tell, Google has the market cornered.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

But our tastes are different I'm afraid, though I do recognize Dost's greatness.
His writing is too steeped in Christian guilt for my taste (like Joyce's writing is too steeped in Cathoic guilt over over sex) I was first introduced to him by a fallen seminarian (haha that's a would be priest who has lost his faith) Brothers K, I was very young then, 16; but I tried later with C and P and the Underground Man. I could see how exquisite the writing is, but the material did nothing for me--I'm an aetheist and find religion absurd. *Lightning strikes her, now!*
Lots of great points on your post, but I leave them to ssin, this bolded part is spot on. He is very religious and you can really tell that while reading, it never disturbed me but then again I haven't read all of his works, I could understand if he annoys people in that aspect, still a one of the GOATs of the world literature, no doubt about that.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

Yes, lately google is worse, the search results feel so limited and controlled. At first I could find a lot of useful things from google searches; not so anymore.
And what about youtube? "Suggestions for you" - and it's mostly unrelated nonsense.
What are some other search engines that are good? As far as I could tell, Google has the market cornered.
I use both Google Chrome with default Google search for mainstream info and Mozzilla Firefox with "DuckDuckGo" add on search engine for alternative. Probably not perfect but that's a way around google's excessive bs.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (World Literature talk)

I love your description of modern readers and Dost, though there are two issues getting mixed into one: one is the lack of attention span, the other is a lack of receptivity to subjects of spiritual depth, subjects that address that embarrassing word--the soul. Though I have to also guess these two issues are related.

But our tastes are different I'm afraid, though I do recognize Dost's greatness.
His writing is too steeped in Christian guilt for my taste (like Joyce's writing is too steeped in Cathoic guilt over over sex) I was first introduced to him by a fallen seminarian (haha that's a would be priest who has lost his faith) Brothers K, I was very young then, 16; but I tried later with C and P and the Underground Man. I could see how exquisite the writing is, but the material did nothing for me--I'm an aetheist and find religion absurd. *Lightning strikes her, now!*

So I prefer Tolstoi, where man struggles with the hypocrisies of society and lust vs. duty and the inadequacies of his own soul, etc. etc. though Tolstoi also went Christian crazy at the end.
Isaac Babel said of Tolstoi "If life could write itself, it would write like Tolstoi."

Your comparison to Faulkner from Dost is dead on, though it's a mysterious resemblance. Faulkner is heavy! I loved Light in August many decades ago but have been unable to read Faulkner since. Another American writer who gets that "biblical" feel going is Cormac McCarthy--he writes in 3rd omniscient alot (that's part of what gives these particular writers their gravity, the god point of view) but i find him kind of a sham, though he is greatly admired by so many.

Hemingway GOAT??? That's way worse than Federer GOat!!!!! hehe. I'm not a Hem fan I have to say, especially not of the novels, I am totally aware of why the stories are so admired, and maybe someday I will change my mind but give me Babel any day over Hem.

So then if you love Hem if should love Raymond Carver too? He is the modern heir to Hem, among others.

The Canadian story writer Alice Munro is considered unanimously by writers to be the greatest living story writer, though many men may be slow to warm to her

Stories are less of a time commitment than novels and can be consumed in one sitting. But no less of an art! Stories sit somewhere in the middle between novels and poetry. But for most readers in N America, stories are of little interest, unfortunately.
I love it all--memoir, essays, poetry, etc. etc.
First, I indeed love Raymond Carver, it's interesting because I never connected him with Hemingway, different feelings I get from the two, I think they are both very 'filmable'. But then, Hemingway is really the papa of modern American prose, everyone is connected to him one way or the other. It is truly American, previous American novelists were fine, but in 19th century they were more like an extension of European literature. I can hardly think of anything more American than Hemingway.

Certainly, people have different tastes, which is a very good thing. One important thing that I learned long time ago as a reader - if you don't enjoy a book after 10-15 pages, leave it, even if it is by some acclaimed author. There are always other great books and life is short.

I am not religious at all, although I'm not an atheist. Meaning I am not against religion, just not my thing, so I didn't read that religious thing much into Dostoevsky, however we can't escape Christianity as one of the pillars of our civilization. But I get his Orthodox flavor is not really accessible in general, it is a known thing. And the man himself was truly a rare specimen. Exploring human souls and psychology is not necessarily related to religion. Still, I don't plan on rereading Dostoevsky any time soon, I myself have lost taste for his literature. ;) It was more an example of literature too heavy for modern sensibility.

I noticed that Hemingway is more appealing to the male audience, or maybe I am mistaken. His work could be too "masculine" for today's world. Maybe, I am not sure. But I have always enjoyed his work. And I always read just to enjoy art. In the case of Hemingway I actually also learned some practical things in my life, so I double value papa so he must be included among GOATs. ;) As I said, the literary works of Romanticism is not my cup of tea, but yeah, there are some great books there too.

I really like your reader enthusiasm, makes me find a good book and read! :) I'll check Alice Munro or Cormac McCarthy or both when I have time.
 

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Re: Greatest novelists from your country? (Universal Literature talk)

Well, it's true, if you want accurate results of your search I guess. I've tried DuckDuck and it's nowhere near what you get from Google.
It depends what you search for. If google is censoring something you're interested in, you obviously don't want their results. But yes, for everyday stuff I use google too. There are probably better alternatives from DDG but I'm not much interested in digging these days..
 
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