Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top 10 historical novels

Andrew Miller was born in Bristol in 1960. His first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published in 1997 and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour prize in Italy. He has since written five novels: Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Booker Prize in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning like a Bird, and Pure.

One of his top ten historical novels, as told to the Guardian:
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was one of the finest British novelists of the last 50 years. The Blue Flower – the story of the young German Romantic poet Novalis and his love for the even younger Sophie Von Kuhn – was her last novel. Nothing much happens; nothing much needs to. Fitzgerald leaves her characters to live and breathe, to clump about in their uncomfortable rooms and say wise, witty things to each other. There is something beautiful and generous in the way she holds them all. A conjuring trick of a book. Impeccable.
Read about another novel on the list.

The Blue Flower is one of Diana Quick's six best books, Sebastian Faulks' forty recommended books, and appears on Kate Blackwell's list of five books distinguished by sheer originality of language and unique vision. It was one of my favorite two books of 1995.

--Marshal Zeringue