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Thread: 20th century European fiction

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    20th century European fiction

    Recommend me a book written in 20th century Europe. Something you've read. Preferably a classic (maybe underrated and/or close to a classic), not too difficult to read.
    Male, early 20's.

    Eternally grateful

  2. #2
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    The novella Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. A serious and possibly rather depressing book, but a wonderful read. I would call it a classic.

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Hermann Hesse- Steppenwolf
    Franz Kafka- Short Stories
    Italo Calvino- Invisible Cities, The Baron in the Trees
    Bulgakov- Master and Margarita
    G.B. Shaw- Man and Superman
    Yevgeny Zamyatin- We
    Aldous Huxley- Brave New World
    Joseph Conrad- The Heart of Darkness
    C.K. Chesterton- The Man Who Was Thursday
    Albert Camus- The Plague, The Stranger
    Dylan Thomas- Selected Poems
    Federico Garcia Lorca- Selected Poems
    Rilke- Selected Poems
    Samuel Beckett- Endgame, Waiting for Godot
    Umbert Eco- The Name of the Rose


    Just a few suggestions...
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    Foucult's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

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    Golding's Darkness Visible.

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    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    Try any of these
    1998 My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
    1996 Infinite Jest by William Foster Wallace (USA)
    1992 The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago (Portugal)
    1991 Angels in America by Tony Kushner (USA)
    1990 Omeros by Derek Walcott (Saint Lucia)
    1987 Beloved by Toni Morrison (USA)
    1987 Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (Japan)
    1985 Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (USA)
    1985 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Canada)
    1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (India)
    1980 The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (Italy)
    1979 If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino (Italy)
    1974 The Envoy of Mr. Cogito by Zbigniew Herbert (Poland)
    1973 The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Russia)
    1973 The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Russia)
    1970 The Temple of Dawn by Yukio Mishima (Japan)
    1969 Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth (USA)
    1969 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (USA)
    1967 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbia)
    1966 The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (USA)
    1966 Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney (Ireland)
    1965 Closely Watched Trains Bohumil Hrabal (Czechoslovakia)
    1965 The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
    1964 The Homecoming by Harold Pinter (Britain)
    1963 Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar (Argentina)
    1962 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (USA)
    1962 The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes (Mexico)
    1961 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (USA)
    1961 A House For Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul (India)
    1959 The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (Germany)
    1958 The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (Italy)
    1957 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (Russia)
    1957 On the Road by Jack Kerouac (USA)
    1957 Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs by Adonis (Syria)
    1956 Seize the Day by Saul Bellow (USA)
    1956 Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill (USA)
    1956 The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa (Brazil)
    1955 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Russia)
    1955 The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens (USA)
    1955 Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo (Mexico)
    1954 Sunstone by Octavio Paz (Mexico)
    1954 Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Britain)
    1953 Gimpel, the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer (Poland)
    1953 Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett (Ireland)
    1952 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (USA)
    1952 The Shield of Achilles by W.H. Auden (Britain)
    1952 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (USA)
    1952 The Financial Expert by R.K. Narayan (India)
    1951 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas (Britain)
    1951 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (USA)
    1951 Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (France)
    1950 Canto General by Pablo Neruda (Chile)
    1950 The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco (Romania)
    1949 1984 by George Orwell (Britain)
    1949 Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (USA)
    1948 The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japan)
    1948 The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht (Germany)
    1948 A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (USA)
    1948 Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata (Japan)
    1948 Death Fugue by Paul Celan (Romania)
    1947 Fortress Besieged Qian Zhongshu (China)
    1945 Rescue by Czeslaw Milosz (Poland)
    1944 No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre (France)
    1944 Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)
    1944 The Dwarf by Par Lagerkvist (Sweden)
    1942 The Stranger by Albert Camus (France)
    1942 Antigone by Jean Anouilh (France)
    1940 Requiem by Anna Akhmatova (Russia)
    1939 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (USA)
    1938 The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis (Greece)
    1937 Out of Africa by Isak Dineson (Denmark)
    1937 The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat (Iran)
    1935 Wings of Gabriel by Muhammad Iqbal (India)
    1935 Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias by Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain)
    1934 Message by Fernando Pessoa (Portugal)
    1933 Man's Fate by Andre Malraux (France)
    1932 Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine (France)
    1932 The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil (Austria)
    1929 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (USA)
    1928 Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence (Britain)
    1927 Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse (Germany)
    1926 Capital of Pain by Paul Eluard (France)
    1925 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Britain)
    1925 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (USA)
    1925 Cuttlefish Bones by Eugenio Montale (Italy)
    1924 The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (Germany)
    1924 Anabase by Saint-John Perse (France)
    1923 The True Story of Ah Q by Lu Xun (China)
    1923 The Prophet by Khalil Gibran (Lebanon)
    1923 Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo (Italy)
    1922 The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot (USA)
    1922 In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (France)
    1922 Duino Elegies by Ranier Maria Rilke (Germany)
    1921 Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (Italy)
    1920 Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (USA)
    1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley by Ezra Pound (USA)
    1919 The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats (Ireland)
    1918 Ulysses by James Joyce (Ireland)
    1918 The Hellscreen by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Japan)
    1918 The Black Heralds by Cesar Vallejo (Peru)
    1917 The Young Fate by Paul Valery (France)
    1915 The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (Czechoslovakia)
    1915 The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (Britain)
    1915 Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Britain)
    1914 Kokoro by Natsume Soseki (Japan)
    1914 Mending Wall by Robert Frost (USA)
    1913 Alcohol by Guillaume Apollinaire (France)
    1911 Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy (Greece)
    1910 Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (India)
    1910 Peruvian Traditions by Ricardo Palma (Peru)
    1907 The Ghost Sonata by August Strindberg (Sweden)
    1907 The Travels of Lao Ts'an by Liu E (China)
    1906 Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind (Germany)
    1905 Songs of Life and Hope by Ruben Dario (Nicaragua)
    1904 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov (Russia)
    1903 Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw (Ireland)
    1903 The Call of the Wild by Jack London (USA)
    1903 The Ambassadors by Henry James (USA)
    1902 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Britain)
    1902 The Immoralist by Andre Gide (France)
    1902 The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky (Russia)
    1902 The Rain in the Pinewood by Gabriele D'Annunzio (Italy)
    1901 Kim by Rudyard Kipling (Britain)
    1900 La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler (Austria)
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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I was waiting for one of your overkill lists, Mortal... but perhaps you could hone it down to include only the works that fit the requirements of the OP: European... not too hard.
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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    I'd be tempted to recommend Lolita as although it's set in America and Nabokov was living in America, the novel is a clash between Old Europe and New America.

    What type of novels do you like? Romantic, political? Why Europe?

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    Thank you for the recommendations. I wasn't expecting whole lists, its difficult to pick now (:

    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    I'd be tempted to recommend Lolita as although it's set in America and Nabokov was living in America, the novel is a clash between Old Europe and New America.

    What type of novels do you like? Romantic, political? Why Europe?
    I don't have a specific taste and can read almost anything as long as its good. Sometimes I'm in the mood for something contemporary, other times something classic.

    Why Europe ? There are bunch of "Top 100 novels" lists on the web made by Americans and dominated by American novels (talking about the 20th century). Does that makes sense ?
    Last edited by Orvel; 05-02-2012 at 10:33 AM.

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    Male, Early 20's ?

    Right then :

    For decadent and hedonistix works about young males from the nobility and upper-middle class, who are bored dandies strugling to satisfy their desire for feeling and pleasure, when everyday it seems that they grow more numb to life - D'Annunzio is your man. All his novels are great, and much like Byron, the protagonist is always a reflection of D'annunzio at different stags of his life. The writing is rich and sensous like poetry.

    For wild stories of sailors and and adventurers, of men who have truly lived and seen the world, of men who have read the entire book of life according to Augustine ("the man who has not traveled, has read but one page of life's great book") - go with Conrad. His writing is equally Wild and impressionistic. Particularly Lord Jim and Nostromo.

    For a great book about Youth, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, is grand. I damn fine novel, and a must read any young man looking before the world, and preparing himself to truley live and not settle for mere existance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    Male, Early 20's ?

    Right then :

    For decadent and hedonistix works about young males from the nobility and upper-middle class, who are bored dandies strugling to satisfy their desire for feeling and pleasure, when everyday it seems that they grow more numb to life - D'Annunzio is your man. All his novels are great, and much like Byron, the protagonist is always a reflection of D'annunzio at different stags of his life. The writing is rich and sensous like poetry.

    For wild stories of sailors and and adventurers, of men who have truly lived and seen the world, of men who have read the entire book of life according to Augustine ("the man who has not traveled, has read but one page of life's great book") - go with Conrad. His writing is equally Wild and impressionistic. Particularly Lord Jim and Nostromo.

    For a great book about Youth, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, is grand. I damn fine novel, and a must read any young man looking before the world, and preparing himself to truley live and not settle for mere existance.
    Great recommendations
    Last edited by Orvel; 05-02-2012 at 01:35 PM.

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    "Le Grand Meaunes" - Alain-Fournier

    "l'Espoir" by Malraux, "Spanish Testament" by Koestler, "Homage to Catalonia" by Orwell, Barea's trilogy. Four (or 6) books from the Spanish Civil War, probably the pivotal moment in C20th Europe, from 4 authors of different nationalities. (All on the same side, but I'm not sure if the other side wrote books - I expect someone will tell me.)
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    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    I was waiting for one of your overkill lists, Mortal... but perhaps you could hone it down to include only the works that fit the requirements of the OP: European... not too hard.
    Right, I should have cut it down to a trim 18 like yours. Every work and author is labeled by country; so if the OP wants to he can check through it himself fairly easily.
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  14. #14
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orvel View Post
    Why Europe ? There are bunch of "Top 100 novels" lists on the web made by Americans and dominated by American novels (talking about the 20th century). Does that makes sense ?
    How open are you to reading plays? European dramatists have had quite an output.

    Here's writers for the meantime, with my novel suggestions. I've listed writers so you can pick the work that most appeals to you:

    England
    Evelyn Waugh. I'd recommend Brideshead Revisited (there's also a good adaptation of it from the eighties. I haven't read any of the more satirical novels apart from The Loved One, which is more of a novella.

    George Orwell. Animal Farm and 1984 are the two big ones. I think the latter will appeal based on the info you've given.

    DH Lawrence. Lady Chatterley's Lover isn't the best, although its infamy makes it worth a read. Sons and Lovers is my favourite, and it centres on a young male protagonist so that should appeal to you. It's semi-autobiographical as well.


    My mind's gone blank so I will post more later. The trouble is (this may be a contentious comment) that a lot of the best twentieth century literature is American. It's not purely national bias that means they top those lists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    How open are you to reading plays? European dramatists have had quite an output.

    Here's writers for the meantime, with my novel suggestions. I've listed writers so you can pick the work that most appeals to you:

    England
    Evelyn Waugh. I'd recommend Brideshead Revisited (there's also a good adaptation of it from the eighties. I haven't read any of the more satirical novels apart from The Loved One, which is more of a novella.

    George Orwell. Animal Farm and 1984 are the two big ones. I think the latter will appeal based on the info you've given.

    DH Lawrence. Lady Chatterley's Lover isn't the best, although its infamy makes it worth a read. Sons and Lovers is my favourite, and it centres on a young male protagonist so that should appeal to you. It's semi-autobiographical as well.


    My mind's gone blank so I will post more later. The trouble is (this may be a contentious comment) that a lot of the best twentieth century literature is American. It's not purely national bias that means they top those lists.
    I've read Animal Farm and 1984 (notice my username )

    Yes, Lady Chatterley's Lover was interesting back in those days mostly because it was controversial. It was actually mentioned in one of the episodes of Mad Men (is set in the 60's).

    Those lists are ridiculous. Although 20th century American literature is strong, they can't really be objective, and will prefer books written by people whose mentality is similar to theirs.

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