on 17 January 2004
This little book gives a great way to discover some authors that otherwise may have passed you by. Burgess devotes a page or two per book to his personal choice of the 99 best English language novels published since 1939. Unlike normal book reviews, all of the novels mentioned gave him pleasure to read.
I have found the entries on the earlier books (Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh say) especially useful, since there are plenty of reviews of current books elsewhere, but with established authors, how do you admit to not knowing where to start?
Anthony Burgess' text is as enjoyable as his novels and other works, so no page is wasted, and you are highly likely, I think, to want to follow up at least some of his choices.
on 18 February 2015
Was there a book the man hadn't read?
The essays on novels published in roughly the mid 20th century originall appeared in the Sunday Times as I remember.
They are brilliant; clear, thoughtful, written by one who loved words and books.
My copy is in remarkably good condition for a paperback printed in the eighties - far better than the one I bought new and ditched some years later because it was falling to pieces.
on 1 January 2010
Slightly disappointed with this to be honest. First of all I should say that I rate Burgess as noe of the great writers of fiction of the latter half of the twentieth century - The Enderby Novels are true comic masterpieces.
On the plus side this book has certainly provided me with a reading list, for which I'm always grateful. I think I was expecting longer academic essays on each novel when all one really gets is the aforementioned reading list with breif synopses of the nominated books.
I was encouraged to know that Burgess also relished "cheap fiction" and always looked forward to new novels by say Ken Follett & Frederick Forsyth