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Best modern British lit?


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Off the top of my head 


Kazuo Ishiguro

Salman Rushdie 

AS Byatt 



oh & Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall 


Yes.  Also Ian McEwan.  For choice, I would go for:


Kazuo Ishiguro - Remains of the Day (set in the 1930s)

Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children (set in the 1940s)

AS Byatt - Possession (set in 1980s plus 19th century)

Ian McEwan - Saturday - (post 9/11) or Atonement (pre-war)

Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall ( 16th Century)


Other ideas:


JG Ballard - Empire of the Sun (WWII China under Japanese occupation)

Julian Barnes - Flaubert's Parrot (all over the place)

Jeanette Winterson - Oranges are Not the Only Fruit - (mid-century)

Zadie Smith - White Teeth (published 2000)

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You could look at Booker Prize winners from the last couple of decades - not all Brits, but mostly. Tends to be stuff that is modern lit classics.


Yes and no.  The jury changes each year and some years are.... not good.  I read the whole shortlist three years running a few years ago and they were very uneven.

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I might add Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (because I like it, lol) and maybe Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy if that suits.


Gotta do Rebecca by du Maurier, but that may be older than you're looking for.  :)

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I like Ishiguro but I think it is a pretty specific taste. Never Let Me Go is good :)

Ishiguro is interesting, because each of his books is quite different. Never Let Me Go is not a favourite if mine, just because dystopian novels don't appeal, but his writing is always luminous.

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Of the ones I've read, he has a writing style that feels quite deliberate and also somewhat understated.  My mom can't tolerate him :)


I love dystopian lit, but for me Never Let Me Go was not about the dystopia at all; it was just a setting used to magnify the parts of human nature he wanted to talk about.  The dystopia itself was kind of roughshod and incomplete (though a compelling enough idea); the idea at the end















 - we all complete, and no one ever has enough time - was the core of the book, imo.


Similarly, Le Guin (my favorite author in the whole world) criticized Ishiguro's The Buried Giant for not being, among other things, a complete enough fantasy; she found it not fully realized as fantasy.  I think she just misses the point with Ishiguro.



And that is all I have to say about that, hah :)  Avoiding answering customer service inquiries late at night!


Wolf Hall was good too.  



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