Some books are of their time, and some books are out of time.
There are many great novels that either predict the zeitgeist, or drop from the sky straight into the heart of collective psyche of a culture. There are hundreds of books to choose from and we all have our favourites, but what interests me more are the novels that don’t quite fit into the fad, or tap into the trend. They sit somewhere outside the transient and the ephemeral.
Of course, books that catch the zeitgeist may also survive their moment and develop timeless appeal and universal meaning, but I love works that fly in the face of fashion and kick against the pricks of convention.
The writers of such work are pioneers operating in hostile territory and their books often defy creative, stylistic and linguistic categorisation. They can be considered ahead or behind the times. Their work is misinterpreted, misrepresented and misunderstood, and can invoke outrage, confusion, frustration and disgust. But the anger and rejection tells us so much more about our culture than any passing fad.
As Robert Frost laments in his magnificent poem, The Road not Taken,
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference
So here are a few of my most loved rabble rousers… what are yours?
Crash by J.G. Ballard
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkener
Ullysses by James Joyce
Lanark by Alasdair Gray
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
The Cement Garden by Ian Mc Ewan
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks
Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
FINALIST – THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE - PAINTING BY NUMBERS – Tom Gillespie’s critically acclaimed, surreal thriller is available in digital and printed formats from Amazon UK/Amazon US and all good online stores.