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Dark Puss

I tried, I really did! Rushed off to local library after lunch, book listed as available but no sign of it when I arrived. After a long unsuccessful search they offered me a free recall and I hope to get this book in a week or so.

Without in any way doubting your judgement of it, I'm very skeptical of any list of "XXX greatest novels of all time" telling me anything useful about how I might feel about any particular book. What's your experience of the books on that list? I see it has the dreaded "Three Men in a Boat" and "Diary of a Nobody" on it for example. You liked TMIAB, but would you rate it as one the top 100 novels?

Regarding your last line, how kind of you to omit except perhaps Dark Puss from time to time!


I offer the back cover quotes 'for what they're worth' (and we shall no doubt find out), but in answer to your point about the "greatest novels" lists, I'm reminded of the remark by Clovis Fossey about The Oxford Book of Modern Verse (in The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society): "They let a man named Yeats make the choosings. They shouldn't have. Who is he - and what does he know about verse?"
It all depends on who 'made the choosings' for the Observer's list, but the fact that the book is included in such lists, whether rightly or wrongly, gives an indication of its stature, and we'll see when we read it whether that's justified.
I haven't read Three Men in a Boat, and while I enjoyed The Diary of a Nobody and appreciated its excruciating social nuances and (deliberately) groan-inducing jokes, I don't think I'd feel moved to include it in my greatest novels list, but then who am I and what do I know?!

Dark Puss

You are an avid and intelligent and careful and thoughtful and widely-read reader. That seems to me to be a pretty good set of accomplishments to comment on any list of novels.

I'm sure this book's stature is well justified and if I can actually get a copy I'll see if it would go on my 100 best novels list. Of course I don't actually have one of those and am never likely to!

Susan in TX

I'm chuckling at the conversation between the two of you above. Dark Puss, I hope never to have a list either -- a) it would be way too time consuming to come up with such a thing that would be of value to no one but myself, and b) for me, it would probably be constantly changing. :)

So happy about your choice, Cornflower! Thank you for being self-indulgent, as you are more than entitled to be with the CBG! I couldn't help but feel a little indulged myself as I already have this on my shelves and just needed a push to get to it.


Amazon's suggestions based on keywords are a joy to behold at times!

I agree with you say about The Diary of a Nobody. It is one of those books that is some how less satisfying than it ought to be.

adele geras

Hurray! Can't wait to re read this book ....I think it's a fine book whether it's on a list or not! Dying to see what Dark Puss makes of it!

Barbara MacLeod

I find her books are in our library but they are out on loan at the moment.

Dark Puss

Wow! I'm not sure my viewws are worth that much anticipation. I'll do my best.

Julie Fredericksen

I first discovered her with "Gilead". I look forward to reading a second book of hers.


I'm hoping to join you on this. I bought my copy of Housekeeping in 1993 and have been waiting for the right moment ever since to read it!


Before I read about your December's choice, I had already ordered and received this book as one of my Christmas reads. It will be so nice to have other people's views to share although I shall have to read it before Christmas!

Dark Puss

Adele, if you now look at the CBG review page for this book you will find that I have read it and liked it.

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