With her novel The Book

American Fiction Books

David Foster Wallace“Impractical ramblingness + dystopian LOLs + addictiveness in and of itself” and more ... David Foster Wallace, whose Infinite Jest was chosen as one of the most quintessentially American works of fiction of all time. Photograph: Steve Liss/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

What is American fiction? Actually, what is America? The answer to that is probably very different within the United States and outside. Asking yourself how others see you is a healthy exercise for any culture, and US books site Literary Hub did just that to mark the Fourth of July weekend, inviting non-American authors to suggest the quintessential American fiction titles.

They contacted almost 50 writers, editors, publishers, critics and translators from 30 countries and asked each to choose three books. The selection of 96 titles they came up with is fascinating, so do take a look at their site for the full list.heart Among the results of this “deeply unscientific survey”: 19 of the chosen titles are by women; the least popular decade is the 1940s; and the most cited writers are William Faulkner, Herman Melville, JD Salinger and Mark Twain.

The subjects range from the Great Depression to the Vietnam war and the great American road trip, but the most popular decade is the 2000s. Here are some of the most interesting picks.

Nathanael West (1933)

A dark comedy about disillusionment after the Great Depression in the form of a troubled journalist who failed to give the proper advice to his lonely readers. –Andrés Felipe Solano (Colombia)

cullersThe American hunger to comprehend all, and the impossibility of it, permeated half by cheerful melancholy and half by demonic rage. –

David Foster Wallace (1996)

Impractical ramblingness + audiovisual media + drugs + characters full of trepidatious braggadocio created by a confidently unsure author + competitive sports + dystopian LOLs + addictiveness in and of itself + maths = U. S. of A

Carson McCullers (1940)

If I see my emotional suitcase as a reader and think of American fiction, this book is the first thing I pack. The choice of a European reader looking for non-quintessential American fiction and finding it in the Big South, yes or yes. –Elena Ramírez (Spain), editorial director at Seix Barral and director of fiction at Internacional Grupo Planeta

lolaMark Twain (1884/5)

This is where it all starts, the new world called America, no other work of fiction before had created characters like Huck and Jim, or the landscape with Mississippi running through its veins like blood, and no one had ever used language the way Huck and Jim did. Along with this, Huck Finn also set the stage for great works of American fiction becoming moral guardians of America, reminding us that it is preferable to go to hell but do the right thing. –Azar Nafisi (Iran), author

The landscapes of honest colours, fata morganas and melting mirages have become over time an America more real than America itself, a reimagined America which in the end is, must be, the most enduring (and beautiful) country of all. –Lila Azam Zanganeh (France), author

Lydia Davis (2009)

No one has responded more brilliantly than Davis to the garrulous silence of contemporary America, the depths at which its banality twists inside. –Rana Dasgupta (England), author

Part social comedy, part Dostoevskian study of the male gaze and America’s top export, wild capitalism.

William Faulkner (1932)

For explaining the social and psychological fabric of the American South, which casts a shadow over the whole US. –Hamid Ismailov (Uzbekistan), writer and journalist

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Source: www.theguardian.com
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