Sunday, May 17, 2015

The ten best city novels

Elizabeth Day, an award-winning journalist and author, is currently a feature writer at the Observer. She has written three novels: Scissors, Paper, Stone, Home Fires and Paradise City.

At the Guardian, Day tagged her ten favorite books about cities, including:
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853)

London was a central character in many of Dickens’s novels, reflecting his own love of walking through the city. His perambulations were often conducted at night after he had dashed off a review in his job as theatre critic before striding home to Bloomsbury and, later, Marylebone. Of his works I’ve chosen Bleak House for its magnificent opening paragraph, where London is described with brilliantly damp and gloomy lyricism: “Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the Earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.”
Read about the other books on the list.

Bleak House is one of Daisy Hildyard's ten best poems, books and plays about our human inheritance, George Packer's six favorite books, Oliver Ford Davies's six best books, Ian Rankin's 5 favorite literary crime novels, Tim Pigott-Smith's six best books, James McCreet's top ten Victorian detective stories and one of Rebecca Ford's favorite five fiction books. It is on John Mortimer's list of the five best books about law and literature and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best thunderstorms in literature and ten of the best men writing as women, and is among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue