what's the "Great American Novel"?


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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Marlow » Tue May 14, 2013 2:42 pm

So I actually liked the new Great Gatsby movie, cuz the director knew he couldn't do justice to the book, so he stylized it into a caricature of the glitz and flash of the Roaring 20s and asked DiCaprio to play it over the top, which he did. Great fun.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Per Andersen » Tue May 14, 2013 9:43 pm

Marlow wrote:So I actually liked the new Great Gatsby movie, cuz the director knew he couldn't do justice to the book, so he stylized it into a caricature of the glitz and flash of the Roaring 20s and asked DiCaprio to play it over the top, which he did. Great fun.

All glitz and flash is not Gatsby though. Where's the darkness and the futile American dream of Jay Gatz?
I read that book every 5 years or so and it's close to perfect.
How about that ending? "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"
There are great American novels and another great one starts like this: "I am an American, Chicago born -Chicago, that somber city"
Who wrote that?
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby lonewolf » Tue May 14, 2013 10:22 pm

Studs Lonigan????? My early Alzheimers is acting up this morning. :)
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Marlow » Wed May 15, 2013 4:19 am

Per Andersen wrote:
Marlow wrote:So I actually liked the new Great Gatsby movie, cuz the director knew he couldn't do justice to the book, so he stylized it into a caricature of the glitz and flash of the Roaring 20s and asked DiCaprio to play it over the top, which he did. Great fun.

All glitz and flash is not Gatsby though. Where's the darkness and the futile American dream of Jay Gatz?
I read that book every 5 years or so and it's close to perfect.
How about that ending? "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"
There are great American novels and another great one starts like this: "I am an American, Chicago born -Chicago, that somber city"
Who wrote that?

Saul Bellows' Augie March.
As I said, no movie can encompass the whole book, so you just have to focus on one or two aspects,
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby bambam » Thu May 16, 2013 12:04 pm

Per Andersen wrote:How about that ending? "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"


Best closing line of any book I've ever read.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby tandfman » Mon May 20, 2013 8:20 pm

I wouldn't call any of these the "Great American Novel", but World War II produced three novels, each from a different branch of the military, that together constitute a remarkable literary legacy of that war. James Jones's "From Here to Eternity" (Army), Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny (Navy), and Leon Uris's Battle Cry (Marines) were epics. They were all very readable and, although they were written as popular novels and not as profound works of literature, each was, in its own way, quite thought provoking.

All of this, of course, is from distant memory--I read all of them when I was a teen, which was quite a while ago. I don't remember much about them (apart from some of the visual images of the films that were made from them), but I do remember being totally absorbed by each of them when I read them, and struck by the insights they gave, particularly to those of us readers who were much too young to have fought in that war.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Per Andersen » Mon May 20, 2013 8:48 pm

tandfman wrote:I wouldn't call any of these the "Great American Novel", but World War II produced three novels, each from a different branch of the military, that together constitute a remarkable literary legacy of that war. James Jones's "From Here to Eternity" (Army), Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny (Navy), and Leon Uris's Battle Cry (Marines) were epics. They were all very readable and, although they were written as popular novels and not as profound works of literature, each was, in its own way, quite thought provoking.


They were all good, but I preferred Norman Mailers' The Naked and the Dead" Joseph Heller's "Catch 22" and Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow" and probably also Irwin Shaw's "The Young Lions"
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby tandfman » Tue May 21, 2013 4:29 am

I was in the Army when I started reading Catch-22. I put it down about a quarter of the way through it. Nothing Heller wrote could match the humor in what I was seeing and living with every day. Fortunately, I was able to inwardly laugh at situations that others found maddening. (Not being in combat helped.)

Gravity's Rainbow is sitting on my shelf unread. One of these days . . . .
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Marlow » Tue May 21, 2013 5:04 am

Per Andersen wrote:Joseph Heller's "Catch 22"
Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"

Catch-22 - one of my all-time faves.
Gravity's Rainbow - had I but the patience to read it . . . like Joyce's Ulysses, as tandfman says, some day . . .
As it is, I'm halfway through Dan Brown's Inferno, which is at the other end of the scale, just great entertainment.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Per Andersen » Tue May 21, 2013 3:07 pm

Marlow wrote:
As it is, I'm halfway through Dan Brown's Inferno, which is at the other end of the scale, just great entertainment.

Maybe, but I'll stick to the Inferno that starts like this: Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita :D
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby dukehjsteve » Tue May 21, 2013 5:26 pm

bambam wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:How about that ending? "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"


Best closing line of any book I've ever read.



I'll stick with Sydney Carton's closer in A Tale of Two Cities.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby KDFINE » Tue May 21, 2013 7:02 pm

Tandfman. I read Catch 22 while in Army Radio-Teletype school nearly 43 years ago and am ready to re-read it.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby tandfman » Wed May 22, 2013 4:08 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:
bambam wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:How about that ending? "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"

Best closing line of any book I've ever read.

I'll stick with Sydney Carton's closer in A Tale of Two Cities.

No I say I'm just like Marlow in that no I have not yet gotten around to reading Ulysses and so no I shouldn't be comparing its closing line to those of the others that have been mentionied and no I won't do that because if it's wrong to do that not having read the entire book then no I won't do it and I'm not doing it no I won't no.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Marlow » Wed May 22, 2013 4:21 pm

tandfman wrote:No I say I'm just like Marlow in that no I have not yet gotten around to reading Ulysses and so no I shouldn't be comparing its closing line to those of the others that have been mentionied and no I won't do that because if it's wrong to do that not having read the entire book then no I won't do it and I'm not doing it no I won't no.

:shock: Who are you and what have you done with tandfman??!! :D
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Vielleicht » Wed May 22, 2013 7:54 pm

Marlow wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:One of Faulkner's. I ll go with "Light in August"

or As I Lay Dying.

«The Sound and the Fury» gets my vote as the best Faulkner novel. :)
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby bambam » Thu May 23, 2013 1:19 am

tandfman wrote:No I say I'm just like Marlow in that no I have not yet gotten around to reading Ulysses and so no I shouldn't be comparing its closing line to those of the others that have been mentionied and no I won't do that because if it's wrong to do that not having read the entire book then no I won't do it and I'm not doing it no I won't no.


So what's the closing line of Joyce's other masterpiece Finnegan's Wake - and no, I haven't tried to read that book, which is a magnitude more difficult than Ulysses apparently.

One hint here, this is somewhat of a trick question.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby tandfman » Thu May 23, 2013 6:12 am

Not a clue. I've read some of Dubliners, and bits and pieces of Ulysses (including the end, of course), but I've never even thought to crack open Finnegan's Wake.
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Per Andersen » Thu May 23, 2013 1:16 pm

bambam wrote:
tandfman wrote:No I say I'm just like Marlow in that no I have not yet gotten around to reading Ulysses and so no I shouldn't be comparing its closing line to those of the others that have been mentionied and no I won't do that because if it's wrong to do that not having read the entire book then no I won't do it and I'm not doing it no I won't no.


So what's the closing line of Joyce's other masterpiece Finnegan's Wake - and no, I haven't tried to read that book, which is a magnitude more difficult than Ulysses apparently.

One hint here, this is somewhat of a trick question.

Trick question because the incomplete ending (along the....) continues in the first sentence of the book ...riverrun. The river, of course, being Liffey.

No, I haven't really read "the Wake" either. Too much!
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby bambam » Thu May 23, 2013 5:55 pm

Per Andersen wrote:Trick question because the incomplete ending (along the....) continues in the first sentence of the book ...riverrun. The river, of course, being Liffey.

No, I haven't really read "the Wake" either. Too much!


Very nice, Per. Why does it not surprise me that you got it right? Its a circular novel - with no real ending or beginning. The last sentence is a fragment and the ending of the sentence is the first sentence (fragment) of the novel. Something like "Away alone again at last along the / riverun."
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Re: what's the "Great American Novel"?

Postby Brian » Thu May 23, 2013 8:49 pm

bad hammy wrote:Interesting, my first thought was To Kill a Mockingbird. I see a pattern developing . . .


Gets my vote.

A situation and setting extremely significant to the history of this country.

No giggles, but Mitchell's Gone With The Wind would meet this particular criteria, too.
.
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