Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Some website I've never encountered before today lists ten supposedly important books you can safely skip. I agree with some of his choices (wow, is Don DeLillo overrated, and One Hundred Years of Solitude is not Marquez's best book), can't comment on others (I've never read anything by Faulkner, Lawrence or Woolf), but I gotta speak up for John Dos Passos' U.S.A. trilogy. The imagistic stuff that the writer focuses on is such a small part of the book(s) as a whole that to call it a reason to skip the trilogy seems absurd. The heart of the whole massive project is the narrative of the characters as they move through the working and political world of the time, and that stuff is brilliant. It depicts an America that doesn't exist anymore, one that is well worth remembering, particularly in prose of the quality Dos Passos offers. I also think anyone who chooses to valorize Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing over The Road would be better off reading Louis L'Amour, or Harlequin romances. But by all means read the article and make your own judgments.