Newsweek recently featured Booker winner Hilary Mantel’s five favorite historical novels. Sadly–or happily, depending on how you look at it–I hadn’t heard of all but one of them. More books to add to the “maybe read” list!
But the magazine sort of pissed me off by saying that Mantel “elevates the field [of historical fiction] with her new book ‘Bring Up the Bodies.'”
OK, first it’s annoying to introduce a writer’s favorite books by implying she’s better than them. (Obviously, it’s Newsweek not Mantel I’m griping about.)
Second, Mantel lists “Things Fall Apart” as one of her picks. So obviously, the field needs no elevation.
Third, I can name offhand two Nobel laureates who’ve written historical fiction. So I’ll repeat: Obviously, the field needs no elevation.
Whatever. Here’s a list of some of the novels I love that happen to be historical:
- “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
- “The General in His Labyrinth” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- “Away” by Amy Bloom
- “The Known World” by Edward P. Jones
- “In the Skin of a Lion” by Michael Ondaatje