Thursday, July 5, 2007

BTT: Greatest American Novel

(If you can remember the theme to Greatest American Hero, insert here. Now hum with me.)

It's that time again. Booking Through Thursday is all about:

What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel?

If I were British, I would definitely be considering something by Virginia Woolf, though not for the typical reasons. If I were going to stretch the rules, I'd be considering Neil Gaiman. Hey, he's been living on American soil for a while now! But I know in my gut which I think the best, and while it is a novel of Modernist fiction, I think it will surprise you in its dealings.

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather is essentially a book about change and death: death of old ways, and the change and adaptation that must happen to survive. Cather wrote this at a time when other popular or (now) canonical authors were writing about how war and the Industrial Revolution were alienating society. In her own way, I think she's dealing with the same things, but in a quieter and more relateable fashion. That isn't meant to say the novel is softer or weaker than it's brethren of the era. You know how sometimes you have to be quiet and observant to see the underlying currents in a room? Take that attitude with you to this book, and there are great things to be had.

Of course, if I could pick a second, it would be by Zora Neale Hurston. Thank you, Alice, thank you.

Oh yeah. Oregon, USA.

5 comments:

--Deb said...

I know--how sad was it that I could come up with more British authors I'd want to pick than American??

Sharon said...

since America is a nation of immigrants and their descendants, (myself included--my ancestors came from Italy,) I am fascinated by their stories. They helped make America what it is today. For example, Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club" is made up of stories of Chinese women interwoven with those of their American-born daughters. It is one of the greatest books I have ever read, and I consider it to be an American novel. (JMHO)

Stephanie said...

Ack! I'm reading O ' Pioneers right now!! I just started, so I can't tell whether I will like it or not.

Happy Thursday!

Jane said...

I think I read O' Pioneers - before I knew it was a "classic". Edna Ferber's novels were also good reading.

EnnaVic said...

Your choice isn't a title I have come across, but it sounds interesting, and if I come across it I will probably now pick it up and have a read.

Have a good weekend :)