Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Seven contemporary novels about the Victorian era

Paraic O'Donnell is a writer of fiction, poetry, and criticism. His most recent novel, The House on Vesper Sands, was a Guardian and Observer book of the year for 2018. It is out now in the US from Tin House.

At Electric Lit, he tagged seven top 21st-century novels with 19th-century settings, including:
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

Like Eleanor Catton, the Australian novelist Peter Carey shows how Victorian certainties tended to dissolve at the periphery of their empire. When he undertakes to transport Lucinda Leplastrier’s glass church to the remote Outback, inveterate gambler Oscar Hopkins seems to embody Pascal’s conception of religious belief as a momentous wager. The same might be said of this novel’s unlikely but indelible love story, in which everything and nothing may be at stake.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Oscar and Lucinda also appears among Mark Skinner's top twenty period dramas for fans of Hilary Mantel, David Haig's six best books list, Katharine Norbury's top ten books about rivers, the Guardian's ten best unconsummated passions in fiction, and Elise Valmorbida's top ten books on the migrant experience, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best horse races in literature, ten of the best fossils in literature, ten of the best thin men in literature and ten of the best card games in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue