Here’s what I’m going to be teaching in my contemporary American fiction class this spring. I ended up going only with books published in the last 20 years (cheating by a year to add Beloved). If I had to do this list over again tomorrow, it would be different: more small-press stuff, more genre stuff, etc. But this time around, it’s going to be:
Alexie, Indian Killer
Chabon, Kavalier and Clay
Diaz, Oscar Wao
Dunn, Geek Love
McCarthy, The Road
O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Ozick, Heir to the Glimmering World
Stephenson, Snow Crash
Whitehead, The Intuitionist
plus the Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories.
6 responses to “Since You Asked…”
Not bad. I haven’t read all of those, so not a bad list for me to tackle myself. But the Road: Isn’t that novel only impressive to literary types who don’t read genre and know that it’s not much different or better than a hundred different post-apocalypse stories? I kind of think Amnesia Moon is better. It was well written, but violated the rule for me where the writer purposely withholds information that the narrator would logically supply. As in – what the hell happened?
I thought seriously about Amnesia Moon, which is my favorite of Lethem’s novels (even though he has dismissed it as ‘juvenilia’, which tells you something). But I wanted to do McCarthy and this one seemed timely.
Very cool syllabus. Now, how do I take the class if I’m not enrolled?
Go read all the books! Then think smart things about them.
The Road is incredible! Great pick!
Just seeing this list now (just coming across this blog now, as a matter of fact…great stuff). Heir to the Glimmering World is one of my contemporary favorites. Glad someone’s teaching it.