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BooksellerOne Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d bring with them to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is author of the forthcoming novel Kaddish.comNathan Englander’s list.
The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, Nikolai Gogol
Simply, “The Nose” is a master class in voice. A man chasing his runaway honker around town trying to talk it back onto his face is, to me, perfection.
This goes on my short list of gigantical best sellers that, when I read it way back in galleys, made me think, “This is going to be a gigantical best seller — and truly deserves to be.” It’s just fantastically imagined and extraordinarily powerful.
Feeling like your world is currently imploding? Here’s an I-couldn’t-put-it-down dystopian novel that makes the end of days kind of cheery (in the end). I just finished reading it, and am glad to have a place to sing its praises.
As for dystopian, I’m not putting this on the list because we live in a time when those wielding power say things like, “Truth isn’t truth.” (Fun fact: It is!) I’m adding it because, when I was too young to grasp its cautionary aspects, this book showed me what a novel could do.
If there’s any nonfiction book that I wish had lost its relevance, this is it. But Danticat’s very personal 2007 account of her family’s differing journeys seems even more urgent today, dealing as it does with emigration and asylum and political upheaval.
I’m singling out a single story once again. “Goodbye and Good Luck” leaves me in tears every time I read it — every time. Also, Paley musters her neighborhood so vividly that I hardly ever walk up Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village without thinking about her.