Monday, March 7, 2011
When Lords of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon, won the National Book Award last year, I was chapfallen to learn that it clocks in at only 296 pages. Similarly, last year's Pulitzer winner, Tinkers, by Paul Harding, is a slight 192 pages. And so I still haven't read either. I'm just now getting around to reading The Imperfectionists (288 pages), which, because it's a novel about journalists, about 134 people have told me I'd love. And I do.
So why this hesitation against short novels? Yes, well, in addition to my inclination towards verbosity, I think it's simply because they go by too quickly. The quicker you read a novel, the faster you forget it — in most cases (see below for a few of my exceptions). I'm never happier than when I spend a few weeks immersed in a fictional world, and frankly, that's just not possible with a 250-page book.
5. Mariette in Ecstasy, by Ron Hansen (192 pages)
4. Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn (272 pages)
3. The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss (272 pages)
2. Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer (288 pages)
1. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (256 pages)
Anyone else have this hesitancy towards short books? What's on your list of favorite short novels?
Posted by Greg Zimmerman at 11:01 AM