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Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4 (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing)
 
 

Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4 (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing) [Kindle Edition]

John Freeman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Review

Packed full of sparky, though-provoking pieces. Altogether a fine tote bag of youthful talent for the summer. --'Summer Reads', The Times

Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 4 should be in the library of everyone who cares about contemporary fiction. That's not just because some of the writing is compelling; one also wants to see whether the young writers shine beyond Granta's pages. --Mail and Guardian SA

Product Description

Barker, Barnes, Hollinghurst, Ishiguro, Mitchell, Rushdie, Smith, Tremain, Winterson . . . Long before they were household names, they were Granta Best of Young British Novelists. With each Young Novelist list - in 1983, 1993, and 2003 - came new ways of witnessing the world, introductions to unforgettable characters and mysterious and addictive voices. In 2013, thirty years after the first collection, the magazine asked once again: which writers are setting the bar for a new decade in British literature?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4607 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Magazine (16 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BY4GUO6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #125,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Another decade, another catalogue of the Best of Young British writers. They are all, I think, worthy of inclusion here, but I sympathise with those who have turned 40 and can't be admitted, particularly the more adventurous and less conservative ones, such as China Mieville, who is mentioned with the regret that he just missed the age deadline. Yet the judges have made exceptions in the past, and here on other grounds. Not that I resent the inclusion of any of these writers, of course, it just seems unfair to have rules that are bent for some and not others.

My favourite of the examples of work given here is Sarah Hall's 'The Reservation', a story fragment with wolves. Her writing is, as always, exceptionally fresh, sensual and evocative. Another favourite was Ross Raisin's 'Submersion' a wonderful account of a flooded town, during which two brothers see their father fast asleep in his armchair, carried along with the flood. Raisin is able to evoke the natural world even in a bizarrely unnatural viewpoint, with such a steady, engaged and sympathetic eye.

Of the others I especially liked Helen Oyeymi's piece, 'Boy, Snow Bird' which has an off-beat, wry humour. I have always wondered why judges seem to prefer serious and studiously literary values over the wit and mischief of say, Tom Rachman, who is mentioned in the introduction as having, at one time during the judging, a "groundswell" in his favour. It didn't outlast more sober considerations unfortunately. 'Arrivals' by Sunjeet Sahota was the most memorable of all the pieces; it's subject was the cruelties and unfairness of the shifting fortunes of a group of male immigrants.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Granta 123 9 May 2013
By RDL
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Is Granta 123 worth reading? When Anthony Burgess wrote a review of a new edition of the `Concise Oxford Dictionary' many years back for `The Observer', he said, when considering a new dictionary, he always checked the rude words first. So, what's appealing in this fourth selection of the Best of Young British Novelists? (Not rude, but attractive.)

The first to catch my eye was Steven Hall's `The End of Endings' whose opening sentence - `This is what I know for sure.' - is remarkably similar to Christopher Priest's start of `The Affirmation' (`This much I know for sure:...'). I was also reminded of B S Johnson because Hall, not content with black letters on a white background, presents us, every other page, with white characters on a dark background, which is also vertically inverted. So, derivative? No: Hall is his own man, and these two apparently linked tales hint at a forthcoming work of some complexity. His first novel `The Raw Shark Texts' also tinkers typographically. He made me want to read his work in full. Hall could be one to watch.

Adam Thirlwell's piece `Slow Motion', also from a novel in progress, drew me in effortlessly. What do you do if you wake up in a strange room next to a girl who appears to be sleeping but, judging by the blood on the pillow, may, in fact, be dead? It's a funny piece, despite the subject matter, although it's clear that there is a serious intention. And we are entertained by the narrator's monologue as he attempts to come to terms with the situation. Comic, stream of consciousness, existential panic. Another one I'm looking forward to reading in its entirety.

`Just Right' by Zadie Smith (novella in progress) is written in an assured style with a voice both innocent and knowing. A delight to read for the prose alone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Review 28 Mar 2014
By donerac
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Grant as are always interesting. I like this sampling of new novelists that granita have done over the years. Interesting to see what concerns and topics young novelists find interesting.
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By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
While everyone will have their own views of who are the most exciting of the next generation of British fiction writers, it's always difficult to assess Granta's judgement on these matters due to the nature of the collection here. In the vast majority of cases, the content of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists contains extracts from works in progress and their inclusion is judged not on what is offered here, but on what they have already completed. It is then a little like watching the previews of forthcoming movies at the cinema and the selections were not designed to be taken out of context in the short writing format. That said, Granta has an excellent record of identifying the up and comers (at least in the UK - less successfully in the US) but equally this somewhat raises expectations of the next Amis, Barnes, Rushdie, McEwan and the sadly late Banks - all of whom have received the Granta nod in the past.

Similarly the nature of the collection makes is difficult to spot major themes that are concerning young British writers. One of the most striking (apart from the 12:8 pleasing split in favour of women writers here - and possibly explains why the Orange/Women's/Bailey's prize turns up consistent quality) is the multi-ethnicity of both writers and subject matters. Of course multi-ethnic writers tends to favour multi-ethnic interests. While generally a positive, it is tempting to ponder over the loss of national identity - or perhaps the change in national identity.

Of those that had me tapping into the Amazon Wish List to remind me to purchase their next books when they are published were those whose work I already admire - Naomi Alderman, Ned Beauman (who in my view is probably the most likely of this group to one day write something truly great) and David Szalay.
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