Source: “10 overlooked novels: how many have you read?,” by John Sutherland, The Guardian, 6 May 2014
In part to plug his new book, How to be Well Read: A guide to 500 great novels and a handful of literary curiosities, John Sutherland–who may carry around more literary facts and trivia in his head that any other English speaker around–writes,
What other dead and forgotten works would one dig up from the dusty vaults of the British Library? Everyone will have their own overdue for resurrection list: here’s my top 10. Not all of them are what the critics would call “great novels” (a couple most certainly are) but they are, I can guarantee, great reads. And what more do you want from a work of fiction?
Sutherland’s suggestions are eclectic but not likely to pass muster from any serious fans of neglected books. #10, William Lindsay Gresham’s Nightmare Alley has been out as a New York Review Classic for several years. #6 is Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant: seriously? Has it ever been out of print? Has anything by Anne Tyler ever been out of print? And #1 is Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov. Not as well know as Crime and Punishment? Granted. But it’s been in print ever since Penguin started releasing its World Classics series and is certainly accepted as one of the top 10 greatest Russian novels of the 19th century. The only title on Sutherland’s list that narrowly qualifies by my standards is Junicho Tanizaki’s 1961 novel, Diary of a Mad Old Man, which is out of print at the moment, although it had a Vintage Modern Classic release back in 2000.
This list aside, however, there are more interesting genuinely neglected books to be found in How to be Well Read: A guide to 500 great novels and a handful of literary curiosities, which is not yet available from a U.S. publisher, but probably will be soon.