Best Books of : NPRFor me, the great discovery of was the work of Elizabeth Harrower, an eighty-six-year-old Australian novelist who lives quietly in Sydney, and who has not published a novel since the nineteen-sixties. Around this sad, quarrelling couple move a group of friends and siblings, all of whom are struggling, in their various ways, to answer the question made proverbial by a much younger contemporary writer: How should a person be? What are the sources of happiness? Her characters usually female are frequently assailed by daunting forces—horrible men, all too often; but also self-doubt, faint-heartedness, conventionality, and the limitations of bourgeois Australian society during the fifties and sixties. Like Spark, Harrower is funny and elegant and devastating. How can you not like a novelist whose sentences are on the order of these? And whose marriage is now breaking up.
The Globe 100: The best books of 2014
Actually, constructing a canon of any kind is a little weird at the moment, when so much of how we measure cultural value is in flux. Its supposed permanence became the subject of more recent battles, back in the 20th century, between those who defended it as the foundation of Western civilization and those who attacked it as exclusive or even racist. But what if you could start a canon from scratch? We thought it might be fun to speculate very prematurely on what a canon of the 21st century might look like right now. We asked each of them to name several books that belong among the most important works of fiction, memoir, poetry, and essays since and tallied the results.
Rebecca Mead, Teju Cole, and other New Yorker contributors name their favorite books of the year.
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