Brits imitate NY Times

The New York Times poll-cum-popularity-contest that elected Toni Morrison’s Beloved as the winner now has an copycat. The Brits couldn’t resist the allure of staging their own survey, and canvassed famous authors for their “best of” between 1980 and 2005. Here’s the Guardian article. Much as I think the contest misses the mark of nailing down a hierarchy of talent or “goodness”, it still manages to reveal our cultural preferences and valuations, so here:

First place: Disgrace (1999) JM Coetzee

Second place: Money (1984) Martin Amis

Joint third place: Earthly Powers (1980) Anthony Burgess

Atonement (2001) Ian McEwan

The Blue Flower (1995) Penelope Fitzgerald

The Unconsoled (1995) Kazuo Ishiguro

Midnight’s Children (1981) Salman Rushdie



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