Five Great… Novels (E-F)

I thought that I would make a series which lists five beautifully written and thought-provoking novels.  All have been picked at random, and are sorted by the initial of the author.  For each, I have copied the official blurb.  I’m sure that everyone will find something here that interests them.

1. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
“The year is 1794 and Fritz, passionate, idealistic and brilliant, is seeking his father’s permission to announce his engagement to his heart’s desire: twelve-year-old Sophie. His astounded family and friends are amused and disturbed by his betrothal. What can he be thinking? Tracing the dramatic early years of the young German who was to become the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis, ‘The Blue Flower’ is a masterpiece of invention, evoking the past with a reality that we can almost feel.”

2. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
“James Frey wakes up on a plane, with no memory of the preceding two weeks. His face is cut and his body is covered with bruises. He has no wallet and no idea of his destination. He has abused alcohol and every drug he can lay his hands on for a decade – and he is aged only twenty-three. What happens next is one of the most powerful and extreme stories ever told. His family takes him to a rehabilitation centre. And James Frey starts his perilous journey back to the world of the drug and alcohol-free living. His lack of self-pity is unflinching and searing. A Million Little Pieces is a dazzling account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed. It is also the introduction of a bold and talented literary voice.”

3. Middlemarch by George Eliot
“George Eliot’s most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial English community prior to the Reform Bill of 1832. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfilment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; passionate, idealistic and penniless artist Will Ladislaw; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama.”

4. The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott
“”The Little Shadows” tells the story of three sisters making their way in the world of vaudeville before and during the First World War. Setting off to make their fortune as a singing act after the untimely death of their father, the girls, Aurora, Clover and Bella, are overseen by their fond but barely coping Mama. The girls begin with little besides youth and hope but evolve into artists as they navigate their way to adulthood among a cast of extraordinary characters – charming charlatans, unpredictable eccentrics, and some who seem ordinary but have magical gifts. Marina Endicott lures us onto the brightly lit stage and into the little shadows that lurk behind the curtain, and reveals how the art of vaudeville – In all its variety, madness, melodrama, hilarity and sorrow – echoes the art of life itself.”

5. Maurice by E.M. Forster
“Maurice Hall is a young man who grows up confident in his privileged status and well aware of his role in society. Modest and generally conformist, he nevertheless finds himself increasingly attracted to his own sex. Through Clive, whom he encounters at Cambridge, and through Alec, the gamekeeper on Clive’s country estate, Maurice gradually experiences a profound emotional and sexual awakening. A tale of passion, bravery and defiance, this intensely personal novel was completed in 1914 but remained unpublished until after Forster’s death in 1970. Compellingly honest and beautifully written, it offers a powerful condemnation of the repressive attitudes of British society, and is at once a moving love story and an intimate tale of one man’s erotic and political self-discovery.”

Purchase from The Book Depository

11 thoughts on “Five Great… Novels (E-F)

      • Well, you have a lot of great novels in store, in that case! I have; I’ve read ‘Washington Square’, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, ‘The Lesson of the Master’ and ‘Daisy Miller’. 🙂

      • I love Washington Square. It is such a moving story. Is it better to be right or reasonable? Ishould read Turning of the Screw. I’ve read Daisy Miller and also The Europeans. Have you ever been tempted to read The Bostonians? I think it’s the best character study in literature.

      • You should, it’s great. I think ‘The Bostonians’ is somewhere on my enormous to-read list, but I don’t know when I’ll get around to finding a copy.

  1. I saw the ‘The Blue Flower’ by Penelope Fitzgerald at the bookshop today; perhaps it will be part of my next buys 😉 I also got ‘Middlemarch’ quite recently, but it seems a bit intimidating.. What did you think about it, Kirsty?

  2. Hi Kirsty! I have received The Blue Flower as a gift from my stepfather and now I am not sure if I should be disturbed that he gave it to me or if he gave it to me because he knows I like weird books. I have not read Middlemarch yet but I have a copy of it at home. I have seen the eight hour BBC version and I have a crush on Rufus Sewell. I have already read Daniel Deronda and Romola by her and I really liked both of them! By the way, I love Henry James and I have read Wahington Square, Wings of a Dove, and The Golden Bowl as I mentioned before I love weird books! Sincerely, Nora

    • Hi Nora! You should be pleased; it’s such a good novel! Are you planning to read it soon? I think you have lots to look forward to with ‘Middlemarch’, and I’m moving ‘Daniel Deronda’ and ‘Romola’ up to the top of my to-read books now! I’m so pleased you enjoyed them, and you’ve really spurred me on to get to them sooner rather than later. How are ‘Wings of a Dove’ and ‘The Golden Bowl’? Same here! I hope you have a lovely weekend. 🙂

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