I decide to write a post after listening to a Guardian podcast from earlier this year ,I fallen behind with my podcast listening lately .But the podcast focused on the recent novel by Chad Harbach – the art of fielding ,this book is considered an heir to the great american novel .But maybe because it is influenced by Melville’s Moby Dick “according to its writer .I ve not read the book but have Moby Dick ” . The fact that the so-called Great american novel may have gone full circle and the ideas that influenced Meville have influenced Harbach. Maybe suggest that the great american novel is dying as the form we know spliting into other forms like Jewish american novels ,the fact that two books that are massive books in size ,received little or no attention ,but are on my radar and wish list the books Witz by Joshua Cohen and The instructions by Adam Levin both complex books that maybe show american lit is moving away from the pursuit of classic Great american novel .So with the fact I feel the great european novels have maybe been written in the past Proust ,Zola ,Dickens ,Doblin ,Musil well the list is huge really but European fiction has moved away from what maybe consider the great novel for a particular country .
So what do I define as a great novel something that is part state of the nation ,part social commentary,part insight and maybe something that catches the zeitgeist .More an over view of a nation for me Moby dick classic example a book about men ,class ,obsession and maybe america become its own nation .
Great Chinese Novel –
I m sure somewhere last year I heard some one in an interview ,they said the 21st century was going to be the century of the Chinese novel .So lets start with the Great chinese novel ,any one that reads this blog ,I m sure there are a few people know I struggle with Chinese fiction ,I feel what may be classed a the great Chinese novel hasn’t been written China is so fast-moving in the last few years you feel a book that could capture the feel of one of these Mega cities .The books I have read tend to deal with social issues and the moves from country to town ,rather than a look as Chinese culture as a whole in these mega-cities and how it effect people everyday .They are great books but not what may be classed as great Chinese novel .
Great Indian novel
Now I can think of three books that may already be called great Indian novel the are midnights children ,white tiger and a suitable girl these books are all wonderful and tackle the subjects I feel make great novels .But all have maybe still been influenced by English writing .Rather like China the urban sprawl of Indian and the complex nature of Indian society is owed a truly great novel to open it up like a post mortem on modern India .I would love to dive into a book that let me in as a westerner see inside these huge cities from top to bottom and also gave us an idea of the class and politics of India.
Great latin american novel –
Hum some of you will be saying yes there is great fiction from Latin America .This is truE but I feel Bolano ,Mayo and Neuman have shown the change in fiction from latin america ,long weighted down with the feeling of having to write Magic realism so much so that one writer felt so much this held back his fiction he killed himself Andres Caicedo his only novel to be published next year was maybe the first Great latin American novel not classed as either Magic realism or Dictator fiction .I finish Neuman’s traveller to the century a wonderful book but maybe only his first step to a great Latin american novel as it was set in europe .Argentina fiction is moving looking inward and hopefully moving slowly from their dark past to the present great writers like Figueras and Gamerro ,have both written so well on Argentina past you feel in later books they must discuss the present .I do wonder if we’ll see these books as we seem to like the books discussing the past and maybe miss books that discuss the present .
Great african Novel
Duck my head here ,I clarify I mean the great novel of Nigeria ,Ghana ,South Africa .I pick these three as the y are all countries moving forward and the great novel maybe is of a country feeling great about its self and having pride .I feel these countries are beginning to enter this and starting to show a way forward for africa as a whole moving from western ideas to African ideas .So maybe we need a great novel of africa a book that lets us see Africa through African eyes?I ve read a number of African books ,lots about villages and a few about towns but yet to see one that fills me with that feeling I ‘ve lived and learnt in these pages .
So what do you think am I just rambling or maybe is there some truth in my thoughts ?
Where do you think the next lot of great novels will come from ?