Monday, April 24, 2006

An update on Jane Smiley's 100 novels

An earlier post directed readers to the continuing Guardian series in which the esteemed novelist Jane Smiley attempts to "illuminate the whole concept of the novel" by sharing her view on 100 novels. (If you're too impatient to follow the series in the Guardian, grab the book: Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel.)

Read her take on the first book on her list, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, here.

In the second installment Smiley looks at The Saga of the People of Laxardal, a tale of 10th-century Iceland that is thought to have been written by a woman.

The third of Smiley's articles considers the work of Aphra Behn--the first woman to make a successful career as a writer in England (1640-89)--who wrote about treachery and violence as well as expressing more "feminine" feelings.

The latest installment examines Nikolai Gogol's Ukrainian saga Taras Bulba, one of the greatest books of all time, according to Ernest Hemingway. (Nabokov, usually an enthusiastic Gogolian, didn't much care for Taras Bulba, however.)

--Marshal Zeringue