Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Five best books on disgrace

Rachel Cusk is the author of the memoirs A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother and The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy, and of seven novels: Saving Agnes, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award; The Temporary; The Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; The Lucky Ones, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award; In the Fold; Arlington Park, which was shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction; and The Bradshaw Variations.

For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of books on disgrace. One novel on the list.
by Sinclair Lewis
Harcourt, Brace, 1922

George F. Babbitt is a family man, community pillar and real-estate agent with an almost religious zeal for his way of life in the fictitious boom city of Zenith. He is even a member of a club called the Boosters, whose sole purpose is to celebrate and vaunt Zenith's virtues wherever possible. Yet Babbitt contains a dangerous grain or two of sensitivity, enough for him to wonder occasionally what would happen if he didn't "boost." In his most private moments he can admit that he finds his wife dull, his children irritating, his job unfulfilling. And one way or another these thoughts cease to be so private: Babbitt becomes, without ever quite meaning to, something of a dissenter. His consequent rejection by his community is instant and vicious, frightening in its middle-class brutality.
Read about the other books on the list.

Rachel Cusk's Arlington Park is one of Adam Thorpe's top 10 satires.

--Marshal Zeringue