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Underrated novels

Today's Observer has a brilliant article on forgotten and/or underrated novels. Fifty writers name one novel each. Will Self begins the parade with Alisdair Gray's Lanark. I read the first few paragraphs on the forgotten and ignored then scrolled down, keen to see if two of my favourites would make it, actually three, and it was only as I got into the forty-somethings of the list that it suddenly appeared - it's Hunger by Knut Hamsun. That book gave me shivers down my spine when I first read it, about ten years ago, long before I began to take my writing seriously. The list didn't, though, include anything by Richard Yates, although his work will no doubt gain more of a following once the Sam Mendes film of his first novel Revolutionary Road hits the screens later this year (!) I would also loved to have seen Guy de Maupassant's short novel, Butterball, on the list; fantastic fable and excellent characterisation.

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