100 BEST NOVEL BOOKS WITH WRITER NAMES
1. Don Quixote Miguel De Cervantes
The story of the gentle knight and his servant Sancho Panza has entranced readers for centuries.
• Harold Bloom on Don Quixote – the first modern novel
2. Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan
The one with the Slough of Despond and Vanity Fair.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Pilgrims Progress
3. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
The first English novel.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Robinson Crusoe
4. Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift
A wonderful satire that still works for all ages, despite the savagery of Swift’s vision.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Gulliver’s Travels
5. Tom Jones Henry Fielding
The adventures of a high-spirited orphan boy: an unbeatable plot and a lot of sex ending in a blissful marriage.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Tom Jones
6. Clarissa Samuel Richardson
One of the longest novels in the English language, but unputdownable.
• Robert McCrum’s 10 best novels: Clarissa
7. Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne
One of the first bestsellers, dismissed by Dr Johnson as too fashionable for its own good.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
8. Dangerous Liaisons Pierre Choderlos De Laclos
An epistolary novel and a handbook for seducers: foppish, French, and ferocious.
• Jason Cowley on the many incarnations of Dangerous Liaisons
9. Emma Jane Austen
Near impossible choice between this and Pride and Prejudice. But Emma never fails to fascinate and annoy.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Emma
10. Frankenstein Mary Shelley
Inspired by spending too much time with Shelley and Byron.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Frankenstein
11. Nightmare Abbey Thomas Love Peacock
A classic miniature: a brilliant satire on the Romantic novel.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Nightmare Abbey
12. The Black Sheep Honore De Balzac
Two rivals fight for the love of a femme fatale. Wrongly overlooked.
• Buy The Black Sheep at the BOOKSTORES
13. The Charterhouse of Parma Stendhal
Penetrating and compelling chronicle of life in an Italian court in post-Napoleonic France.
• The Charterhouse of Parma – review
14. The Count of Monte Christo Alexandre Dumas
A revenge thriller also set in France after Bonaparte: a masterpiece of adventure writing.
• Dumas’s five best novels
15. Sybil Benjamin Disraeli
Apart from Churchill, no other British political figure shows literary genius.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Sybil
16. David Copperfield Charles Dickens
This highly autobiographical novel is the one its author liked best.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: David Copperfield
17. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff have passed into the language. Impossible to ignore.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Wuthering Heights
18. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Obsessive emotional grip and haunting narrative.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Jane Eyre
19. Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
The improving tale of Becky Sharp.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Vanity Fair
20. The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
A classic investigation of the American mind.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Scarlet Letter
21. Moby-Dick Herman Melville
‘Call me Ishmael’ is one of the most famous opening sentences of any novel.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Moby-Dick
22. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
You could summarise this as a story of adultery in provincial France, and miss the point entirely.
• Julian Barnes rerwrites the ending to Madame Bovary
• The Everest of translation, by Adam Thorpe
23. The Woman in White Wilkie Collins
Gripping mystery novel of concealed identity, abduction, fraud and mental cruelty.
• The Woman in White’s 150 years of sensation
24. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll
A story written for the nine-year-old daughter of an Oxford don that still baffles most kids.
•Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
25. Little Women Louisa M. Alcott
Victorian bestseller about a New England family of girls.
•Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Little Women
26. The Way We Live Now Anthony Trollope
A majestic assault on the corruption of late Victorian England.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Way We Live Now
27. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The supreme novel of the married woman’s passion for a younger man.
• Rereading Anna Karenina, by James Meek
28. Daniel Deronda George Eliot
A passion and an exotic grandeur that is strange and unsettling.
• A new novel from George Eliot – the Guardian’s first review of Daniel Deronda, from 1876
29. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky
Mystical tragedy by the author of Crime and Punishment.
Buy The Brothers Karamazov at the BOOKSTORES
30. The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
The story of Isabel Archer shows James at his witty and polished best.
• Profound and flawed: Claire Messud on rereading The Portrait of a Lady
• Hermione Lee on the biography of a novel that changed literature
31. Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
Twain was a humorist, but this picture of Mississippi life is profoundly moral and still incredibly influential.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels – Huckleberry Finn
32. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
A brilliantly suggestive, resonant study of human duality by a natural storyteller.
• Ian Rankin on The Strange Story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
33. Three Men in a Boat Jerome K. Jerome
One of the funniest English books ever written.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels – Three Men in a Boat
34. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
A coded and epigrammatic melodrama inspired by his own tortured homosexuality.
• Fiona MacCarthy on the inspiration behind The Picture of Dorian Gray
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Picture of Dorian Gray
35. The Diary of a Nobody George Grossmith
This classic of Victorian suburbia will always be renowned for the character of Mr Pooter.
Buy The Diary of a Nobody at the BOOKSTORES
36. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
Its savage bleakness makes it one of the first twentieth-century novels.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels – Jude the Obscure
37. The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
A prewar invasion-scare spy thriller by a writer later shot for his part in the Irish republican rising.
• Classics Corner – The Riddle of the Sands
38. The Call of the Wild Jack London
The story of a dog who joins a pack of wolves after his master’s death.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Call of the Wild
39. Nostromo Joseph Conrad
Conrad’s masterpiece: a tale of money, love and revolutionary politics.
• Chinua Achebe and Caryl Phillips discuss the case against Conrad
40. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
This children’s classic was inspired by bedtime stories for Grahame’s son.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Wind in the Willows
41. In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust
An unforgettable portrait of Paris in the belle epoque. Probably the longest novel on this list.
• Melvyn Bragg rereads In Search of Lost Time
42. The Rainbow D. H. Lawrence
Novels seized by the police, like this one, have a special afterlife.
• Rachel Cusk rereads The Rainbow
• Adam Thorpe on The Rainbow
43. The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
This account of the adulterous lives of two Edwardian couples is a classic of unreliable narration.
• Jane Smiley on The Good Soldier, stylistic perfection
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Good Soldier
44. The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan
A classic adventure story for boys, jammed with action, violence and suspense.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: The Thirty-Nine Steps
45. Ulysses James Joyce
Also pursued by the British police, this is a novel more discussed than read.
• Robert McCrum’s 100 best novels: Ulysses
46. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf
Secures Woolf’s position as one of the great twentieth-century English novelists.
Buy Mrs Dalloway at the BOOKSTORES
47. A Passage to India E. M. Forster
The great novel of the British Raj, it remains a brilliant study of empire.
Buy A Passage to India at the BOOKSTORES
48. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The quintessential Jazz Age novel.
Buy The Great Gatsby at the BOOKSTORES
49. The Trial Franz Kafka
The enigmatic story of Joseph K.
Buy The Trial at the BOOKSTORES
50. Men Without Women Ernest Hemingway
He is remembered for his novels, but it was the short stories that first attracted notice.
Buy Men Without Women at the BOOKSTORES
51. Journey to the End of the Night Louis-Ferdinand Celine
The experiences of an unattractive slum doctor during the Great War: a masterpiece of linguistic innovation.
Buy Journey to the End of the Night at the BOOKSTORES
52. As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
A strange black comedy by an American master.
Buy As I Lay Dying at the BOOKSTORES
53. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Dystopian fantasy about the world of the seventh century AF (after Ford).
Buy Brave New World at the BOOKSTORES
54. Scoop Evelyn Waugh
The supreme Fleet Street novel.
Buy Scoop at the BOOKSTORES
55. USA John Dos Passos
An extraordinary trilogy that uses a variety of narrative devices to express the story of America.
Buy USA at the BOOKSTORES
56. The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler
Introducing Philip Marlowe: cool, sharp, handsome – and bitterly alone.
Buy The Big Sleep at the BOOKSTORES
57. The Pursuit Of Love Nancy Mitford
An exquisite comedy of manners with countless fans.
Buy The Pursuit of Love at the BOOKSTORES
58. The Plague Albert Camus
A mysterious plague sweeps through the Algerian town of Oran.
Buy The Plague at the BOOKSTORES
59. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
This tale of one man’s struggle against totalitarianism has been appropriated the world over.
Buy Nineteen Eighty-Four at the BOOKSTORES
60. Malone Dies Samuel Beckett
Part of a trilogy of astonishing monologues in the black comic voice of the author of Waiting for Godot.
Buy Malone Dies at the BOOKSTORES
61. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
A week in the life of Holden Caulfield. A cult novel that still mesmerises.
Buy Catcher in the Rye at the BOOKSTORES
62. Wise Blood Flannery O’Connor
A disturbing novel of religious extremism set in the Deep South.
Buy Wise Blood at the BOOKSTORES
63. Charlotte’s Web E. B. White
How Wilbur the pig was saved by the literary genius of a friendly spider.
Buy Charlotte’s Web at the BOOKSTORES
64. The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
Buy The Lord of the Rings at the BOOKSTORES
65. Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis
An astonishing debut: the painfully funny English novel of the Fifties.
Buy Lucky Jim at the BOOKSTORES
66. Lord of the Flies William Golding
Schoolboys become savages: a bleak vision of human nature.
Buy Lord of the Flies at the BOOKSTORES
67. The Quiet American Graham Greene
Prophetic novel set in 1950s Vietnam.
Buy The Quiet American at the BOOKSTORES
68 On the Road Jack Kerouac
The Beat Generation bible.
Buy On the Road at the BOOKSTORES
69. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
Humbert Humbert’s obsession with Lolita is a tour de force of style and narrative.
Buy Lolita at the BOOKSTORES
70. The Tin Drum Gunter Grass
Hugely influential, Rabelaisian novel of Hitler’s Germany.
Buy The Tin Drum at the BOOKSTORES
71. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
Nigeria at the beginning of colonialism. A classic of African literature.
Buy Things Fall Apart at the BOOKSTORES
72. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark
A writer who made her debut in The Observer – and her prose is like cut glass.
Buy The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the BOOKSTORES
73. To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee
Scout, a six-year-old girl, narrates an enthralling story of racial prejudice in the Deep South.
Buy To Kill A Mockingbird at the BOOKSTORES
74. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
‘[He] would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.’
Buy Catch-22 at the BOOKSTORES
75. Herzog Saul Bellow
Adultery and nervous breakdown in Chicago.
Buy Herzog at the BOOKSTORES
76. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A postmodern masterpiece.
Buy One Hundred Years of Solitude at the BOOKSTORES
77. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont Elizabeth Taylor
A haunting, understated study of old age.
Buy Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont at the BOOKSTORES
78. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John Le Carre
A thrilling elegy for post-imperial Britain.
Buy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at the BOOKSTORES
79. Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
The definitive novelist of the African-American experience.
Buy Song of Solomon at the BOOKSTORES
80. The Bottle Factory Outing Beryl Bainbridge
Macabre comedy of provincial life.
Buy The Bottle Factory Outing at the BOOKSTORES
81. The Executioner’s Song Norman Mailer
This quasi-documentary account of the life and death of Gary Gilmore is possibly his masterpiece.
Buy The Executioner’s Song at the BOOKSTORES
82. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller Italo Calvino
A strange, compelling story about the pleasures of reading.
Buy If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller at the BOOKSTORES
83. A Bend in the River V. S. Naipaul
The finest living writer of English prose. This is his masterpiece: edgily reminiscent of Heart of Darkness.
Buy A Bend in the River at the BOOKSTORES
84. Waiting for the Barbarians J.M. Coetzee
Bleak but haunting allegory of apartheid by the Nobel prizewinner.
Buy Waiting for the Barbarians at the BOOKSTORES
85. Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson
Haunting, poetic story, drowned in water and light, about three generations of women.
Buy Housekeeping at the BOOKSTORES
86. Lanark Alasdair Gray
Seething vision of Glasgow. A Scottish classic.
Buy Lanark at the BOOKSTORES
87. The New York Trilogy Paul Auster
Dazzling metaphysical thriller set in the Manhattan of the 1970s.
Buy The New York Trilogy at the BOOKSTORES
88. The BFG Roald Dahl
A bestseller by the most popular postwar writer for children of all ages.
Buy The BFG at the BOOKSTORES
89. The Periodic Table Primo Levi
A prose poem about the delights of chemistry.
Buy The Periodic Table at the BOOKSTORES
90. Money Martin Amis
The novel that bags Amis’s place on any list.
Buy Money at the BOOKSTORES
91. An Artist of the Floating World Kazuo Ishiguro
A collaborator from prewar Japan reluctantly discloses his betrayal of friends and family.
Buy An Artist of the Floating World at the BOOKSTORES
92. Oscar And Lucinda Peter Carey
A great contemporary love story set in nineteenth-century Australia by double Booker prizewinner.
Buy Oscar and Lucinda at the BOOKSTORES
93. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Milan Kundera
Inspired by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, this is a magical fusion of history, autobiography and ideas.
Buy The Book of Laughter and Forgetting at the BOOKSTORES
94. Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie
In this entrancing story Rushdie plays with the idea of narrative itself.
Buy Haroun and the Sea of Stories at the BOOKSTORES
95. La Confidential James Ellroy
Three LAPD detectives are brought face to face with the secrets of their corrupt and violent careers.
Buy LA Confidential at the BOOKSTORES
96. Wise Children Angela Carter
A theatrical extravaganza by a brilliant exponent of magic realism.
Buy Wise Children at the BOOKSTORES
97. Atonement Ian McEwan
Acclaimed short-story writer achieves a contemporary classic of mesmerising narrative conviction.
Buy Atonement at the BOOKSTORES
98. Northern Lights Philip Pullman
Lyra’s quest weaves fantasy, horror and the play of ideas into a truly great contemporary children’s book.
Buy Northern Lights at the BOOKSTORES
99. American Pastoral Philip Roth
For years, Roth was famous for Portnoy’s Complaint . Recently, he has enjoyed an extraordinary revival.
Buy American Pastoral at the BOOKSTORES
100. Austerlitz W. G. Sebald
Posthumously published volume in a sequence of dream-like fictions spun from memory, photographs and the German past.
Buy Austerlitz at the BOOKSTORES