How to read the best American novels
A reader’s favorite novels may be an old-fashioned, traditional genre.
But new, modernist fiction has been rising to the challenge, according to a recent study by the Writers Guild of America.
And it’s not just novelists who are getting in on the act.
American writers have written some of the most beloved works in the genre, with many of them taking on a fresh take on the classic, such as David Foster Wallace, the celebrated author of Infinite Jest, and William Gibson, whose The Matrix trilogy has spawned a new generation of science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
And the best books in this new wave are often novels by American writers from the past.
The American Book Award, founded in 1917, was created to recognize the best published books from all corners of the country.
The winner of this year’s award is none other than Robert Anton Wilson, who has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his new novel, A Time to Kill.
The novel is set in the late 19th century in the South, where the country’s first anti-lynching legislation took effect in 1865.
Wilson, the author of a string of novels and short stories, has made an impact in his home state of Alabama, where he’s won two Pulitzer Prizes.
Wilson, who’s a native of Georgia, said in a statement that he wanted to write about the South and its history, and this novel fits the bill.
“I’m not the first to try to look at this particular era and make it relevant to the times in which I live, but this is a unique moment,” Wilson said.
“This time of heightened racial tensions and discrimination was at the same time when the First Amendment was being read, the civil rights movement was at its peak and a generation of African Americans had begun to grow up in America.”
Wilson’s story centers on a young white man named Thomas Jefferson who becomes the head of a fledgling national government in the wake of the Black Codes.
Wilson said he wanted this novel to tell a story that resonates with people of all races, not just African Americans.
“We’re seeing a dramatic shift in our national identity as a nation in which black lives matter,” he said.
For many, the story of Jefferson’s journey is the most significant part of the novel.
But Wilson is also writing about the role of the modern novel in the modern American story, and he’s using his own personal experience as a backdrop to write his story.
“In my childhood I was obsessed with books,” Wilson told Ars.
“I loved the novels, and I was always curious to read about the people in the books.
But it was also a huge challenge to write something that wasn’t a series of books, it had to be something you could read in a lifetime.”