UK authors and critics pick the best novels since Ulysses

First UK edition.

Ulysses turned 100 this year, and to mark the occasion, The Sunday Times (UK) asked a jury of authors and critics to pick “the finest novels published since [James] Joyce’s classic.” Though Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, it’s Updike’s Rabbit, Run (1960) that continues to make lists such as this.

Nine of The Times’ 14 jurists were women. “Between them they have read thousands of books, and their choices reflect this: the oldest book was published in 1924, the most recent in 2009. The list includes writers from Britain, Ireland, the US, Nigeria, India and South Africa, with subject matter just as diverse. You will find scalp-hunting outlaws, organ-donating clones and Wall Street traders.”

Of Updike’s novel, which the jury ranked #43, The Times wrote, “In high school Harry Angstrom was a basketball star. Now he’s a 26-year-old salesman, living in the suburbs with his wife, Janice, and son, Nelson. Bored and unsatisfied, he runs away and shacks up with a prostitute in his home town. The search for freedom is a classic American narrative, and here it’s told with aplomb, in charged, fierce prose.”

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