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Christian

Slate Praises the Best Overlooked Second Novels of the Past Five Years

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Or, Slate's about to look at the best overlooked second novels of the past five years.

 

From the site:

 

How will it work? We’re pulling together a list of the very best under-recognized second novels of the past five years—ones that might not have found the readers they still deserve now. (If you’ve got a suggestion, email secondnovels@slate.com.) The list will be voted on by previous winners of the Whiting Awards. And then our five judges—novelists Yiyun Li and Colson Whitehead, independent bookseller Sarah McNally, NewYorker.com literary editor Sasha Weiss, and me, your Slate culture editor—will wrangle a final five of follow-up fiction, to be announced on Nov. 19.

 

For an entire week in December, the Slate Book Review will roll out essays from our five judges, making the case for readers to revisit, reconsider, and read these second novels. And a celebration on Dec. 10 at David Weeks Studio in New York will prove that second novels are something to shout about. After all, Their Eyes Were Watching God? Ulysses? Giovanni’s Room? O Pioneers!? The Firm? Second novels all.

 

--You're welcome to vote, of course. Feel free to share your choices here.

 

We've recently been discussing Joshua Ferris' third book, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. I'd mentioned that, so far, I've only read his second novel, The Unnamed, and been rather baffled by its cool reception. Is it one of the best sophomore books of the past five years? I have no idea. I don't know if all that great. I do know that it wasn't particularly bad, as reviews had led me to believe.

 

One possibility that was critically acclaimed but didn't sell all that well, from what I can tell, is the oft-mentioned (by me) The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt.

Edited by Christian

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That pesky overlooked qualifier makes this tough, which might be the point.

 

Of course, A&F Literary Board favorite Await Your Reply was a second novel that just might slip in under the five year deadline, but I have no idea if it counts as overlooked or not.

 

Not overlooked: Phillip Meyer's The Son or Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers.

 

I really liked Ivy Pochoda's Visitation Street, and thinks it deserves an audience beyond genre fans like me who discovered it through the Dennis Lehane connection.

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Of course, A&F Literary Board favorite Await Your Reply was a second novel that just might slip in under the five year deadline, but I have no idea if it counts as overlooked or not.

 

!!!

Yes! Are you going to email that suggestion to the address given in the announcement? I've already sent in my suggestion email and feel like I shouldn't send another.

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