I have read lots of enjoyable books this year, but none stand out as modern day classics. I haven’t awarded my highest five star rating to any book published in 2011 and wonder if I’ve been reading the wrong books – or has it just been a slow year for fiction?
Will any books stand the test of time?
In ten years people will probably still read The Marriage Plot, but only because they loved Middlesex, and I think that Julian Barnes’ vast body of work will ensure that Sense of an Ending will still be read by a few people, but I can’t think of any book that will be remembered on its own merit.
Many years after publication I still push copies of books like Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger into the hands of anyone who hasn’t read them, but in ten years time I can’t see myself being excited by anything published this year.
The entire Booker longlist will slowly drift into obscurity and enthusiasm for the Orange prize winning, The Tiger’s Wife, doesn’t even seem to have made it to the end of the first year. Perhaps we’ll just have to wait for paperback publication next year so that the real gems of 2011 can bubble to the surface through word-of-mouth recommendation?
Do you think any modern classics were published in 2011?
Do you think 2011 produced a lower standard of fiction than usual?