i’ve been on a tear of amazing (and long) books lately. if you need something for the winter inside times, any of these would be excellent.
first and absolutely foremost: the goldfinch.
this is WONDERFUL. granted i’m still in the post-finish glow (and it’s an achievement at almost 800 pages) but it’s one of the most perfect things i’ve read. i’ll steal from the esquire review: “the prose is so luminous, the characters so richly imagined, that i felt transported, losing days of my life to the years of theo’s. tartt publishes a novel every decade, and damn if she doesnt put her whole heart into it. this is what a major literary event looks like.” 5+/5
and, speaking of the last novel, it’s good too:
the secret history traces richard papen’s journey to hampden college where he “was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. as richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another…” though not as much HAPPENS in this as in the goldfinch, you cant help but lose yourself in tartt’s pages. 4.5/5
this is a popular one now too. night film's premise is excellent: it “tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.” it's got everything…mystery, revenge, horror, magic, conspiracy, cold cases, paranormal activity. i didn't love the end but damn if it wasn't near perfect until then. 4/5
after i read night film, i wanted to read pessl’s first novel, which was apparently a big deal when it came out a few years back.
it’s hard to describe what special topics in calamity physics is about; it centers around hannah, the daughter of a super smart nomadic professor/single dad, and their experiences during a rare year sticking in one place. it’s loosely based around a “great works of literature” syllabus, with parentheticals and citations all over. i tend to love gimmicky stuff like that, but i can see how it could annoy. i loved hannah, and felt she was a really reasonable, realistic high school girl. 5/5
it also should be said that if you like pessl or tartt, you’ll like the other (in fact, the parallels between secret history and special topics are pretty remarkable). i found their writing styles to be similarly rewarding, and their character development was top notch.
i think i’m late to the kavalier & clay party, but in case you missed this too, read it. comics, nazis, a golem, superheroes, magicians, artists, daring escapes. sluggish start but it’s a pulitzer winner for a reason. 4/5
ok, one more:
i may have mentioned this one before but it qualifies under my good long reads theme…murder as a fine art is a historical fiction thriller. a serial killer is on the loose in victorian london, and seems to be emulating an essay by thomas de quincey, the infamous author of “confessions of an opium eater” (all this is real, BTW). scotland yard is on the case. 4/5
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