A weekly meme hosted by The Blue Bookcase.
This week's topic is:
What makes a contemporary novel a classic? Discuss a book which you think fits the category of ‘modern classics’ and explain why.
This is an interesting topic up for debate. By definition, a classic should be from a generation that is no longer alive but resonates with the current generations. How can that happen if the book is only a few decades old or younger? But it happens with all products of culture: "this is classic." So the definition has changed. Some books have a treasured quality that allows readers to foresee it as being a classic, usually because they deal with subject matter never written about before (a difficult feat to muster in the 21st century) or writes about subject matter in a rejuvanating way.
In my humble opinion, a modern classic would be any book written anywhere from the last half century up to the last 20 years. So in 2010, a modern classic would be written between 1961 and 1991. There are countless titles, I wouldn't know where to begin naming just one. To give you an idea, these are some titles I categorized under Modern Classics in my TBR list, and this is by no means exhaustive:
The Godfather- Mario Puzo (1969)
Gravity’s Rainbow- Thomas Pynchon (1973)
Interview With the Vampire- Anne Rice (1976)
Requiem For a Dream- Hubert Selby (1978)
Unbearable Lightness of Being- Milan Kundera (1984)
The Remains of the Day- Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
American Psycho- Bret Easton Ellis (1991)--this would be the baby of the bunch :)
Here were some titles that I considered MCs, but are a bit premature:
Schindler’s List- Thomas Keneally (1993)--this could be a strong exception
The Shipping News- E. Annie Proulx (1993)--...as could this
Trainspotting- Irvine Welsh (1993)
The Reader- Bernard Schlink (1995)
Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace (1996)
The Perfect Storm- Sebastian Junger (1997)
Guns, Germs & Steel- Jared Diamond (1997)
...and some others that aren't quite close enough but may turn out to be MCs:
Life of Pi- Yann Martel (2001)
Love & Other Impossible Pursuits- Ayelet Waldman (2006)