All-TIME 100 Novels

Critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923—the beginning of TIME.

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307 comments
ejfarley
ejfarley

No Confederacy of Dunces? In Cold Blood? Oh, well.

clever221
clever221

I  agree with Watership Down, but also need at least one Ayn Rand and 

without questionse , can make a case for James Lee Burke and

Kazantazakis' The Last Temptation of Christ which is a masterful work

I read non-stop

ChrisSeltzer
ChrisSeltzer

Beloved?  I'm disappointed with you time.

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tricialou
tricialou

Something of Par Lagerkvist's (The Sybil - Death of Ahasuerus) And something by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) Anything would do - Out of Africa isn't her best but pick any one.  Tropic of Cancer and The Painted Bird should come off. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Gone with the Wind aren't in the same league - they should go on a B list. Anyway - I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of even better ones. Give me a few days and I'll come up with a more. It's too late right now. The Greatest novel ever written (well - I understand that there's more than one greatest novel ever written of course) is The Brothers Karamazov. Second greatest is Galsworthy's Forsyt Saga. Both plumb the depths in completely different ways. 

tricialou
tricialou

Too Late the Phalarope should be on the list as well.

tricialou
tricialou

Or else "Cry the Beloved Country". At least one of them. 

espilehiyo
espilehiyo

Thanks for this. But why is J.M Coetzee not on the list? Disgrace! 

sierra__atwood
sierra__atwood

I feel as if TIME should make a list of 100 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time. YA books are the trend right now and some of them are actually rather thought provoking and eye opening. For example, "The Fault in Our Stars" is so much more than a love story and would belong on the list, as well as "The Hunger Games", "Harry Potter", "To Kill a Mockingbird", and "The Outsiders".

AlexBeller
AlexBeller

@sierra__atwood Young adult novels? Are you serious? And what world do you live in where you'd put To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders into the young adult category? All YA novels are exactly the same. "Oh, I'm such a loner/outcast/socially awkward person for XYZ reasons and through adversity I come to find my inner voice/love/both and manage to save something/somebody/some people along the way". Sound familiar?

JavierValdes
JavierValdes

@AlexBeller @sierra__atwood  Alex, you should read over some YA novels that hold literary merit. See: Ender's Game or Lord of the Flies, etc.. that deal with themes that transcend being a socially awkward loner who is searching for self-identity (which is an important theme in itself). Don't be quick to discard the YA genre as useless, I think sierra has a valid point.

ebeeb
ebeeb

@JavierValdes @AlexBeller @sierra__atwood I am sick of the glorification and popularization of YA novels for adults. They are specially labeled "YA" for a reason: they are meant for adolescents and children. The adult-YA trend is part of a larger trend of the dumbing-down and infantalization of adults. Children more and more have become the cultural taste-makers and trendsetters for all of us as all culture must be aimed at the widest possible audience. I suppose it's worked as so many people seem to genuinely think YA novels stand on the same footing as books with more challenging material. It's embarrassing how much children's media adults are consuming and trying to rationalize as somehow sophisticated.


I'd support a separate YA list from Time so we could get the YA out of the regular list (I don't understand the original complaint as there is already plenty of YA on this list, e.g. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe). Such books should be separated from what is written for adults. Harry Potter may be a great series for kids, but it is not Moby Dick and no comparison can be made.

JanDonofrio
JanDonofrio

If you were to add number 101 would it be "Johnny Got his Gun" by Dalton Trumbo....read this as a young adult during the Vietnam War era; it will stay with me forever.

JanDonofrio
JanDonofrio

Newly discovered for me...loved this book...it so deserves to be on this list.

Hiker38
Hiker38

Great list. Many books to add to my "to read" list. Enjoyed the hell out of the Harry Potter series but top 100, you gotta be kidding. No mention of Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal! The best page turner I ever read and from the beginning you of course know that Charles DeGaulle did not get assassinated.

DavidWade
DavidWade

How can The Road by Cormac McCarthy not be on this list?

foequeue
foequeue

@JeanTannen @DavidWade Sorry you didn't like it - I'm with David though. I also thought "No Country for Old Men" by McCarthy was worthy of consideration.

JulieBartlettBecker
JulieBartlettBecker

I am a lover of reading.  I haven't read most of the all time greats because I spend my time reading current fiction.  Wally Lamb is by far my favorite writer and with each novel he becomes increasingly better if that is even possible for him.  "She's Come Undone" is a novel that I "push" to my women friends because the fact that it is written by a man makes it all that more wonderful.  I won't discount what you compiled on your list, but I will say that for the reach that your magazine gets, two or three people making the decision is a bit laughable.  You are entitled to your opinion, as the rest of us are.

j_bamford
j_bamford

"Atonement" is McEwan's WORST novel, and everyone who reads him knows this. "Enduring Love" is his best, and both "Amsterdam" and "Saturday" --- though imperfect --- are better than "Atonement". Looking now to see what they've included of Coetzee.

j_bamford
j_bamford

Holy Christ, not a single work by JM Coetzee, the best writer in the English language in the past thirty years. "Waiting for the Barbarians" and "Disgrace" both deserve to be on the list. The former, without question. Glad to see they included "Rabbit, Run," though, which is an oft-overlooked masterpiece.

Surprised by no inclusion of Chabon. His two best are way, way better than the trendy but bloated and empty "Infinite Jest" by Foster Wallace.

j_bamford
j_bamford

They also left out John Gardner's "Grendel," which is a masterpiece. As good as Burgess's "Clockwork Orange" is, it isn't 1/10th of the work "Grendel" is. Shame on them. Oh yes, and "The Color Purple" belongs on the list as well. A brilliant and inspired work.

GruntTechnology
GruntTechnology

Its funny how  Atlas Shrugged is not there but 1984 is. Must be because the leftards can't spin Atlas Shrugged to their own agenda. Time is as its least relevant it has ever been since it has been infiltrated by communists,

AlexandraYork
AlexandraYork

@GruntTechnology Not everything you see has some "agenda" thats out to get the poor ol Republicans. Its just a list of books, calm down. 

Bluebirder4
Bluebirder4

@GruntTechnology 

@GruntTechnology -- ah, maybe because Atlas Shrugged fails on every level of literary goodness--with a preposterous plot, wooden writing, ideology substituted for realistic character development. 


AbhishekLal
AbhishekLal

This is a great list. But i feel J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit should've been in there. I see it as a wonderful book and i hope the people who read this would agree with me

CharlieMaxwell
CharlieMaxwell

Really no "Brave New World" by our boy Aldous Huxley... for real????

nsan89
nsan89

@CharlieMaxwell My though exactly! Though, I might me biased because it's my favorite book. 

Also, I might not have read a lot of the books on this list, but there's no way it's not one of the 100 best novels. It's not the tidiest writing ever, as Huxley admitted himself, but overall it's just plain brilliant. 

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NeilSadler
NeilSadler

What? No P G Wodehouse?? Heresy!