Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 20th, 2015

About time for Palestinian liberation: Statement by over 1,000 Black activists

The actual distance between Ferguson, Missouri, and Gaza is about 6,000 miles. But last summer, the repressive and deadly violence visited upon blacks and Palestinians, respectively, made that distance seem to disappear.

Immediately, lines of solidarity began to emerge between those groups, and in August a set of activists and organizations in Palestine issued this statement:

We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.

From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.

We understand your moral outrage. We empathize with your hurt and anger. We understand the impulse to rebel against the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity.

And we stand with you.

At the same time, I wrote an article in Salon that spelled out the similarities between the forms of oppression both groups live under, including dispossession from lands and homes; de facto forms of inequality; state violence; the constant interruption of daily life; and the ways the perpetrators of such violence are often immune from prosecution.

Nevertheless, such comparisons were criticized by some here in the U.S., and acts of solidarity were sometimes regarded with suspicion:

In what ways might solidarity with Palestinians be harmful to black political projects here?

Individual activists such as Angela Davis and Cornel West addressed that issue and spoke out on the need for black solidarity with the Palestinians.

As West put it:

In terms of the various kinds of Zionist critiques, we make it clear that this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Jewish hatred or anti-Jewish prejudice.

This has to do with a moral and spiritual and political critique of occupation.

Secondly, there is no doubt that Gaza is not just a “kind of” concentration camp, it is the hood on steroids. Now in the black community, located within the American empire, you do have forms of domination and subordination, forms of police surveillance and so forth, so that we are not making claims of identity, we are making claims of forms of domination that must be connected.

There is no doubt that for the Ferguson moment in America and the anti-occupation moment in the Israel-Palestinian struggle there is a very important connection to make and I think we should continue to make it.

But until today there has not been a mass statement of support from black activists and groups to echo the one issued by Palestinians last year.

Now, in a historical event, well over 1,000 black activists, artists, scholars, students and organizations have released a comprehensive, carefully crafted and passionately intoned statement reaffirming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people,” and supporting “freedom and equality for Palestinian people.”

In this sweeping and momentous document, the signatories make a point of drawing out the historical connections between the issues of black and Palestinian freedom and rights, and the urgency of their present-day struggles, calling the fight for Palestinian liberation “a key matter of our time”:

On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)—and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States—we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.

The list of signatories includes scholar-activists Angela Davis and Cornel West, political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli, rappers Talib Kweli, Boots Riley and Jasiri X, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. Organizational signers include the Florida-based Dream Defenders and St. Louis-based Hands Up United and Tribe X, which were founded after the killings of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, respectively, as well as the 35-year-old Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis.

The statement calls on the U.S. government to end diplomatic and economic aid to Israel, for black and U.S. institutions to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law, and for supporters of black and Palestinian liberation to target the private security company G4S for boycotts and divestment, as well as other companies doing business in the occupied territories.

Besides endorsing both academic and cultural boycotts (which in the U.S. is facilitated by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), as well as divestment and sanctions, the statement makes emphatically clear the signatories’ commitment to the three goals of BDS and especially addresses the issue of Palestinian refugees:

Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.

Andrew Bossone shared the link

“In terms of the various kinds of Zionist critiques, we make it clear that this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Jewish hatred or anti-Jewish prejudice.

This has to do with a moral and spiritual and political critique of occupation. Secondly, there is no doubt that Gaza is not just a “kind of” concentration camp, it is the hood on steroids.

Now in the black community, located within the American empire, you do have forms of domination and subordination, forms of police surveillance and so forth, so that we are not making claims of identity, we are making claims of forms of domination that must be connected….

There is no doubt that for the Ferguson moment in America and the anti-occupation moment in the Israel-Palestinian struggle there is a very important connection to make and I think we should continue to make it.”

More than 1,000 black activists released a statement reaffirming their “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle”
salon.com|By David Palumbo-Liu

Beirut, Baalbek, Byblos, the Cedars and what else?

The other amazing places to visit in Lebanon

Pamela Hakim shared a link.
From pristine beaches to incredible mountain views, Lebanon has something to offer for everyone’s interests.
stepfeed.com|By Jason Lemon

Lebanon is an incredible tourist destination with its fascinating historical landmarks, pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, stellar night life and picturesque mountains. The country truly offers something for everyone’s taste.

(If you manage to be healthy during your visit, (drinking boiled water, not eating in restaurants…) you can tour Lebanon in less than 2 weeks)

Unfortunately, a lot of tourists miss out on some of the most interesting and unique sites and activities Lebanon has to offer, sticking to a relatively routine travel plan. Visitors get stuck in Beirut and maybe take a day trip south or north, just to say they left the city.

Well, Lebanon definitely has a lot more to offer. Here are 14 of the coolest places to visit in Lebanon that are a bit off the beaten path.

 

1. Zaarour

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Visit Zaarour to take in the breathtaking mountain views and do some off-roading. In the winter you can hit the slopes and enjoy the snow.

 

2. Chekka

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There are few places quite like Chekka in the summer. You can enjoy a relaxing day casually swimming in some of the bluest waters Lebanon has to offer or you can take a leap on the adventurous side.

 

3. Bsharri

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Enjoy the incredible scenery of this mountain village, famous as the hometown of Lebanon’s favorite author and artist, Gibran Khalil Gibran. You can visit Gibran’s former home, now transformed into a museum in his honor.

 

4. Tripoli

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Beirut’s northern neighbor often suffers from bad press but Lebanon’s second-largest city definitely has a lot to offer in culture, cuisine and historic landmarks. Visitors will not be disappointed. The unique architecture International Fair complex designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is a must-see attraction.

 

5. Zahlé

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Zahlé sits picturesquely nestled in a mountain valley of Lebanon offering great locations for scenic strolls, wine tasting and all the comforts of city life at your fingertips.

 

6. Tannourine

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For the outdoor enthusiasts, Tannourine offers an excellent location for hiking, camping, picnicking and even more adventurous activities like rock climbing. And of course, the famous waterfall can’t be missed.

 

7. Rashaya

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The village of Rashaya, in eastern Lebanon, is home to the Citadel of Independence, a fortress where the founding leaders of modern-day Lebanon were imprisoned by the French before the nation was granted independence. Enjoy the history and then take a scenic drive through the surrounding area.

 

8. Baskinta

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Take a break, breath and relax while you enjoy the slow pace of village life in Baskinta, located in Lebanon’s lush green mountains.

 

9. Saida

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Between Beirut and Tyre along Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, Sidon boasts historic landmarks, beaches and a great place to stroll along the corniche. Maybe some of the local fishermen will even allow you to join them.

 

10. Nahr Ibrahim

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It doesn’t get much better than a relaxing day spent by the river. Enjoy rafting lazily with the current and maybe even make it a weekend affair by bringing your camping gear a long. Just remember, take care of your trash and leave things cleaner than you found them.

 

11. Tyre

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With some of the most pristine beaches Lebanon has to offer, sea turtles and a vibrant city culture, Tyre is an ideal places to spend your summer days.

 

12. Miziara

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Perhaps one of the strangest places in Lebanon, Miziara is home to some massive and unusual homes including one constructed out of an old airplane. This wealthy northern village also boasts incredibly well-maintained and organized streets, something not always the norm throughout the country.

 

13. Deir al Qamar

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Tour the 17th century Fakhreddine Palace, the residence of the famed Druze Prince Fakhreddine. After you snap some selfies with the wax statues inside the palace, head out for a stroll in the alleyways and streets the village.

 

14. Jounieh

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Nestled along the coast to the north, Jounieh’s nightlife rivals the famous party culture of Beirut. During the day, enjoy the beach or try your hand at some water sports. In late afternoon head up, into the mountains so you can paraglide into the sunset before spending your evening dancing in the streets or testing your luck at the Casino du Liban.

Best novels written in English?

(Would translated works count?)

(Would seeing the movies count?)

(Would reading other better works from the same author count?)

1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678) check

A story of a man in search of truth told with the simple clarity and beauty of Bunyan’s prose make this the ultimate English classic.

2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719) check

By the end of the 19th century, no book in English literary history had enjoyed more editions, spin-offs and translations. Crusoe’s world-famous novel is a complex literary confection, and it’s irresistible.

3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726) check

A satirical masterpiece that’s never been out of print, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels comes third in our list of the best novels written in English

4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748)

Clarissa is a tragic heroine, pressured by her unscrupulous nouveau-riche family to marry a wealthy man she detests, in the book that Samuel Johnson described as “the first book in the world for the knowledge it displays of the human heart.”

5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)

Tom Jones is a classic English novel that captures the spirit of its age and whose famous characters have come to represent Augustan society in all its loquacious, turbulent, comic variety.

6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759)

Laurence Sterne’s vivid novel caused delight and consternation when it first appeared and has lost little of its original bite.

7. Emma by Jane Austen (1816) check

Jane Austen’s Emma is her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility.

8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818) check

Mary Shelley’s first novel has been hailed as a masterpiece of horror and the macabre.

 

9. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (1818)

The great pleasure of Nightmare Abbey, which was inspired by Thomas Love Peacock’s friendship with Shelley, lies in the delight the author takes in poking fun at the romantic movement.

10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)

Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel – a classic adventure story with supernatural elements – has fascinated and influenced generations of writers.

11. Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli (1845)

The future prime minister displayed flashes of brilliance that equalled the greatest Victorian novelists.

12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847) check

13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847) check

 

 

14. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray (1848) check

William Thackeray’s masterpiece, set in Regency England, is a bravura performance by a writer at the top of his game.

15. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850) check and most of Dickens books

David Copperfield marked the point at which Dickens became the great entertainer and also laid the foundations for his later, darker masterpieces.

16. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) check

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s astounding book is full of intense symbolism and as haunting as anything by Edgar Allan Poe.

17. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851) check

Wise, funny and gripping, Melville’s epic work continues to cast a long shadow over American literature.

18. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865) check

Lewis Carroll’s brilliant nonsense tale is one of the most influential and best loved in the English canon.

19. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868)

Wilkie Collins’s masterpiece, hailed by many as the greatest English detective novel, is a brilliant marriage of the sensational and the realistic.

20. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868-9) check

Louisa May Alcott’s highly original tale aimed at a young female market has iconic status in America and never been out of print.

21. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871-2)

This cathedral of words stands today as perhaps the greatest of the great Victorian fictions.

22. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (1875)

Inspired by the author’s fury at the corrupt state of England, and dismissed by critics at the time, The Way We Live Now is recognised as Trollope’s masterpiece.

23. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884/5) check

Mark Twain’s tale of a rebel boy and a runaway slave seeking liberation upon the waters of the Mississippi remains a defining classic of American literature.

24. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886) other works

A thrilling adventure story, gripping history and fascinating study of the Scottish character, Kidnapped has lost none of its power.

25. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (1889)

Jerome K Jerome’s accidental classic about messing about on the Thames remains a comic gem.

26. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (1890) other works

Sherlock Holmes’s second outing sees Conan Doyle’s brilliant sleuth – and his bluff sidekick Watson – come into their own.

27. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891) other books

28. New Grub Street by George Gissing (1891)

29. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895) other works

 

30. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895) the movie

Stephen Crane’s account of a young man’s passage to manhood through soldiery is a blueprint for the great American war novel.

31. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) the movie

Bram Stoker’s classic vampire story was very much of its time but still resonates more than a century later.

32. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899) check and many other books and short stories

Joseph Conrad’s masterpiece about a life-changing journey in search of Mr Kurtz has the simplicity of great myth.

33. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (1900)

Theodore Dreiser was no stylist, but there’s a terrific momentum to his unflinching novel about a country girl’s American dream.

34. Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901) check and many other books and short stories

In Kipling’s classic boy’s own spy story, an orphan in British India must make a choice between east and west.

35. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903) check and all his books

Jack London’s vivid adventures of a pet dog that goes back to nature reveal an extraordinary style and consummate storytelling.

36. The Golden Bowl by Henry James (1904) Many of his books

American literature contains nothing else quite like Henry James’s amazing, labyrinthine and claustrophobic novel.

37. Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Rolfe (1904)

This entertaining if contrived story of a hack writer and priest who becomes pope sheds vivid light on its eccentric author – described by DH Lawrence as a “man-demon”.

38. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

The evergreen tale from the riverbank and a powerful contribution to the mythology of Edwardian England.

39. The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells (1910) other books

The choice is great, but Wells’s ironic portrait of a man very like himself is the novel that stands out.

40. Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (1911)

The passage of time has conferred a dark power upon Beerbohm’s ostensibly light and witty Edwardian satire.

43. The Rainbow by DH Lawrence (1915) Most of his other books

The Rainbow is perhaps DH Lawrence’s finest work, showing him for the radical, protean, thoroughly modern writer he was.

44. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham (1915) check

Somerset Maugham’s semi-autobiographical novel shows the author’s savage honesty and gift for storytelling at their best.

45. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920) check

The story of a blighted New York marriage stands as a fierce indictment of a society estranged from culture.

46. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)

This portrait of a day in the lives of three Dubliners remains a towering work, in its word play surpassing even Shakespeare.

47. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (1922) check and most of his books

What it lacks in structure and guile, this enthralling take on 20s America makes up for in vivid satire and characterisation.

48. A Passage to India by EM Forster (1924) check and other books

EM Forster’s most successful work is eerily prescient on the subject of empire.

49. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos (1925)

A guilty pleasure it may be, but it is impossible to overlook the enduring influence of a tale that helped to define the jazz age.

50. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)

Woolf’s great novel makes a day of party preparations the canvas for themes of lost love, life choices and mental illness.

54. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1929) the movie

Dashiell Hammett’s crime thriller and its hard-boiled hero Sam Spade influenced everyone from Chandler to Le Carré.

55. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930) many other books and plays

The influence of William Faulkner’s immersive tale of raw Mississippi rural life can be felt to this day.

56. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932) other books

Aldous Huxley’s vision of a future human race controlled by global capitalism is every bit as prescient as Orwell’s more famous dystopia.

57. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)

The book for which Gibbons is best remembered was a satire of late-Victorian pastoral fiction but went on to influence many subsequent generations.

58. Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos (1932)

The middle volume of John Dos Passos’s USA trilogy is revolutionary in its intent, techniques and lasting impact.

59. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934) check and all his books

The US novelist’s debut revelled in a Paris underworld of seedy sex and changed the course of the novel – though not without a fight with the censors.

60. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)

Evelyn Waugh’s Fleet Street satire remains sharp, pertinent and memorable.

61. Murphy by Samuel Beckett (1938) other books

Samuel Beckett’s first published novel is an absurdist masterpiece, a showcase for his uniquely comic voice.

65. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) check and all his books

One of the greatest of great American novels, this study of a family torn apart by poverty and desperation in the Great Depression shocked US society.

66. Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse (1946)

PG Wodehouse’s elegiac Jeeves novel, written during his disastrous years in wartime Germany, remains his masterpiece.

67. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946) check

A compelling story of personal and political corruption, set in the 1930s in the American south.

68. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (1947)

Malcolm Lowry’s masterpiece about the last hours of an alcoholic ex-diplomat in Mexico is set to the drumbeat of coming conflict.

69. The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen (1948)

Elizabeth Bowen’s 1948 novel perfectly captures the atmosphere of London during the blitz while providing brilliant insights into the human heart.

70. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949) check and most his books

George Orwell’s dystopian classic cost its author dear but is arguably the best-known novel in English of the 20th century.

71. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951)

Graham Greene’s moving tale of adultery and its aftermath ties together several vital strands in his work.

74. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

Dismissed at first as “rubbish & dull”, Golding’s brilliantly observed dystopian desert island tale has since become a classic.

75. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955) check and other books

Nabokov’s tragicomic tour de force crosses the boundaries of good taste with glee.

76. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957) check

The creative history of Kerouac’s beat-generation classic, fuelled by pea soup and benzedrine, has become as famous as the novel itself.

77. Voss by Patrick White (1957)

A love story set against the disappearance of an explorer in the outback, Voss paved the way for a generation of Australian writers to shrug off the colonial past.

78. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) check

Her second novel finally arrived this summer, but Harper Lee’s first did enough alone to secure her lasting fame, and remains a truly popular classic.

79. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1960)

Short and bittersweet, Muriel Spark’s tale of the downfall of a Scottish schoolmistress is a masterpiece of narrative fiction.

80. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961) the series?

This acerbic anti-war novel was slow to fire the public imagination, but is rightly regarded as a groundbreaking critique of military madness.

81. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962)

Hailed as one of the key texts of the women’s movement of the 1960s, this study of a divorced single mother’s search for personal and political identity remains a defiant, ambitious tour de force.

82. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962) Movie

83. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (1964)

84. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)

Truman Capote’s non-fiction novel, a true story of bloody murder in rural Kansas, opens a window on the dark underbelly of postwar America.

85. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1966)

Sylvia Plath’s painfully graphic roman à clef, in which a woman struggles with her identity in the face of social pressure, is a key text of Anglo-American feminism.

86. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth (1969) other books

This wickedly funny novel about a young Jewish American’s obsession with masturbation caused outrage on publication, but remains his most dazzling work.

87. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (1971)

Elizabeth Taylor’s exquisitely drawn character study of eccentricity in old age is a sharp and witty portrait of genteel postwar English life facing the changes taking shape in the 60s.

88. Rabbit Redux by John Updike (1971) other books

Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, Updike’s lovably mediocre alter ego, is one of America’s great literary protoganists, up there with Huck Finn and Jay Gatsby.

89. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)

The novel with which the Nobel prize-winning author established her name is a kaleidoscopic evocation of the African-American experience in the 20th century.

90. A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul (1979)

VS Naipaul’s hellish vision of an African nation’s path to independence saw him accused of racism, but remains his masterpiece.

91. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981) check and most of his books

The personal and the historical merge in Salman Rushdie’s dazzling, game-changing Indian English novel of a young man born at the very moment of Indian independence.

92. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (1981)

Marilynne Robinson’s tale of orphaned sisters and their oddball aunt in a remote Idaho town is admired by everyone from Barack Obama to Bret Easton Ellis.

95. The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald (1988)

Fitzgerald’s story, set in Russia just before the Bolshevik revolution, is her masterpiece: a brilliant miniature whose peculiar magic almost defies analysis.

96. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (1988)

Anne Tyler’s portrayal of a middle-aged, mid-American marriage displays her narrative clarity, comic timing and ear for American speech to perfection.

97. Amongst Women by John McGahern (1990)

This modern Irish masterpiece is both a study of the faultlines of Irish patriarchy and an elegy for a lost world.

98. Underworld by Don DeLillo (1997)

A writer of “frightening perception”, Don DeLillo guides the reader in an epic journey through America’s history and popular culture.

99. Disgrace by JM Coetzee (1999) other books

In his Booker-winning masterpiece, Coetzee’s intensely human vision infuses a fictional world that both invites and confounds political interpretation.

100. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (2000)

Peter Carey rounds off our list of literary milestones with a Booker prize-winning tour-de-force examining the life and times of Australia’s infamous antihero, Ned Kelly.

Robert McCrum has reached a verdict on his selection of the 100 greatest novels written in English.
Take a look at his list
theguardian.com

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