What with yesterday being the Fourth of July and all, I’m feeling a little patriotic, and so have a simple question:
What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?
It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good.
Now, I know that not all of you are American–but you can play, too! What I want from you is to know what you consider to the best novel of YOUR country. It might be someone the rest of us haven’t heard of and, frankly, I think we’d all like to get some new authors to read.
This question has had me thinking ever since I read it, and there have been a few different titles that I have thought of. My first thoughts were of books like All the Rivers Run by Nancy Cato that tell stories of early Australia (in this case about life on the paddle steamers that run on the inland river system in Australia), but then if Australian history was going to be my focus then my choice would have to be For the Term of his Natural Life by Marcus Clarke - the story of a convict sent to Australia.
Another good one is A Fortunate Life by AB Facey:
The remarkable story of an 'ordinary' man. Bert Facey's childhood ended when he was eight years old. That was when his grandmother had to send him away to work for his keep. Bert grew up tough in the vast, wild outback of Western Australia. He lived to eighty-seven, and wrote down his extraordinary story for his grandchildren. In spite of its difficulties and sufferings, he always believed he had had 'a fortunate life'.
For other good examples of the battling Aussie spirit, another option would be Ruth Park's classic books that include Harp in the South and A Poor Man's Orange, set in the slum suburbs of Sydney during the Depression. Ruth Park also wrote one of Australia's classic children's stories The Muddle Headed Wombat.
I am sure that there are other books that I should be mentioning but that's a start!