For a reading challenge I read about 15 classics. The most notable were the following
Playback by Raymond Chandler. This novel does not belong to the highest rank in terms of the mystery genre or the writer’s own work. However, it was the first Chandler I’ve read in about 40 years and it made me revise my previous hasty and callow opinion of Chandler.
The Forged Coupon by Leo Tolstoy. This is a classic because its theme (actions have unforeseen consequences) has lasting significance and worth. Plus, the narrative vitality and coherence is model story-telling.
The Master andMargarita by Mixail Bulgakov. This is a work recognized as definitive in its genre of fantasy and satire. I can’t decide if the political and social satire is more powerful than the sheer art of the prose. In the end, I will opt for art, I think.
My Bondage and MyFreedom by Frederick Douglass. Of course, it is a classic because it is a traditional example of a slave narrative, but the sheer power of his prose I didn’t expect.
V. by Thomas Pynchon. 2013 was the 50th anniversary of this novel. Turning 50, then, it becomes a classic because it established a standard for post-modern prose, as powerful and exasperating as that can be.