Thursday, May 11, 2006

What’s The Best Work of Fiction in the Last 25 Years?

Well according to a few hundred writers, critics, editors, and literary sages it’s Beloved by Toni Morrison. Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the NY Times Book Review, undertook the gargantuan task of sending some of the most respected figures in literature a letter, “asking them to identify ‘the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.’” The list of judges can be found here.

A.O. Scott, a film critic at the Times, wrote that Morrision’s novel “has inserted itself into the American canon more completely than any of its potential rivals. With remarkable speed, "Beloved" has, less than 20 years after its publication, become a staple of the college literary curriculum, which is to say a classic. This triumph is commensurate with its ambition, since it was Morrison's intention in writing it precisely to expand the range of classic American literature, to enter, as a living black woman, the company of dead white males like Faulkner, Melville, Hawthorne and Twain.”

To have your novel deemed the single best work of American fiction in the past 25 years is quite a feat. I think I can say with conviction that all of us Brothers here at Postgraduate Musings find inspiration in Morrison’s accomplishments. We collectively take our hats off to Sister Morrison.

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