Novels you've read that have left the deepest impression

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
Which novels you've read (in any language) have left the deepest impression on you?

My list:

Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
La Symphonie Pastorale - André Gide
Thyrza - George Gissing

The impression they left on me may be something to do with the age at which I read them.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
- La nuit des temps - René Barjavel
- Les chemins de Katmandou - René Barjavel
- Ravage - same author...
(I was very young as well when I read them)
- Les rois maudits - Maurice Druon
- Les mangeurs d'étoiles - Romain Gary
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
There's greater variety there than in my list. Three out of my four can be summed up in the words "she dies".
(A list doesn't have to be as many or as few as four of course.)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Having read as many classic novels as new, I must admit that I am a typical child of the nineties and was most impacted by Harry Potter. I started reading it when I was very young, and it grew up with me over the years. Harry Potter caught me from a younger age and for a longer period than most novels.

I don't think that a novel can affect me as an adult to the extent that one could when I was young(er).

The most intellectually simulating "novel" I have read is Flatworld. Crichton's books are fascinating, and Treasure Island was well worth my time. I would also recommend "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie. That book has a few different names due to a racial slur in the original title.

Mark Twain's stories are also amusing, but their intentions are easily lost without social context.
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
George Orwell, Animal Farm; 1984
William Golding, The Lord of The Flies
Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
Denis Diderot, Jacques le fataliste et son maître
Albert Camus, La Peste
Jerzy Andrzejewski, The Gates of Paradise
Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov,
And many, many more....
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
George Orwell, Animal Farm; 1984
William Golding, The Lord of The Flies
Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
Denis Diderot, Jacques le fataliste et son maître
Albert Camus, La Peste
Jerzy Andrzejewski, The Gates of Paradise
Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov,
And many, many more....
Animal Farm I could easily have put on my own list. If audiences in Communist countries had had open access to it, it could have had even wider appeal. How did it fare in Poland, Adrian, prior to 1989 particularly?
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Animal Farm I could easily have put on my own list. If audiences in Communist countries had had open access to it, it could have had even wider appeal. How did it fare in Poland, Adrian, prior to 1989 particularly?
I am sure that if people of the USSR had acces to Animal Farm or 1984; than the "Just and Equal System" would not last until 1989 but much shorter.

After 1945 untill 1989 foreign literature was difficult to obtain and carefully selected by the State Security ("The Evil Capitalst West" trying to bring down the "Just and Equal Socialistic System"- very few knew Orwells works and "Animal Farm" was on the banned index by the PRL Ministry of Information and Propaganda. I can only assume that in Communist times only some lucky Professors had it - usually smuggled from London or otherwise. Nowadays, Animal Farm is listed on MEN's index of literature for highschools.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
I liked that one too. And "Crime and Punishment" a lot. (I read them in French, not Russian.) I enjoyed "The Idiot" as well.
 

Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
The Death of Ivan Ilyich (In English) - Tolstoy
A Hero of Our Time (In English) - Lermontov
Great Expectations - Dickens
Confessiones (Latin with English gloss) - Augustine
Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

The last one has a lot to do with my age when I read it. And this is leaving out many plays and short stories that left deep impressions on me. That said, I don't read fiction very often.
 

socratidion

Civis Illustris
We're talking impact, right? Not necessarily 'I recommend' or 'Greatest novels'? And, 'life-changing' rather than 'very exciting'? (And my own extra rule: must have read more than once).

Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
Alexandre Dumas, Three musketeers
Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf (or perhaps the fairy-tales instead, but they're not novels, so it has to be Steppenwolf)
Robert Graves, I Claudius
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast table.

Necessarily an incomplete list: I've played this sort of game before, and I always forget the best ones in the heat of the moment.

I'm of the Narnia generation, so 'The Last Battle' would probably have to go on there. But I've just read through all the Harry Potters with my son, and I think they are amazingly good. Can't think why people were sniffy about them (especially from number 5 onwards) when they came out.
 

Decimvs

Aedilis
Staff member
Various works by Camus, Sartre, and Nietzsche left the deepest impression on me. Many works by those authors are arguably not novels, but I mention them anyway.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Anything written by Gore Vidal
1984 by George Orwell
The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Junkie by William Burroughs
 

Alethian

Member
In no particular order:

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Frank Herbert, Dune
John Norman, The Chronicles of Gor
JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
 

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
I don't read fiction any more but I used to like Hesse's novels (especially Siddartha, Demian and Steppenwolf), Dostoevsky's dry humour in Crime and Punishment and Virginia Wolf's Mrs Dalloway. Also Yasunari Kawabata's Thousand Cranes.
 

limetrees

Civis Illustris
Chosen solely for strongest impact:

Prevost's Manon Lescaut - made me love France: "I would give my life to be one quarter-hour in Paris!"

Camus's La peste - the women dying shouting "No no" is powerful stuff

Beckett's Molloy - just the language and the humour and bitterness and amazing set-pieces: it's a picaresque, now that I consider it, and a great one. I don't know if it affected me for the better, but it certainly affected me.

Laclos's Dangerous Liaisons- had me literally trembling in fear at the cruelty of people

Kafka's short stories "Country Doctor" and "Report to the Academy" - they still frighten me.

and they're not novels but
Spinoza's Ethics- absolutely great and cheering
Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit - a book that makes you realise how wrong you always are, and how that's OK too

All of these blew me around completely.

I am reading Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment at the minute, and it's maybe up there with them - the scene with Sonia and Raskolnikov and Lazarus!
 

malleolus

Civis Illustris
Orwell, Animal Farm
Ellison, The Invisible Man
Borchert, Short stories *too depressing for words*
Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Kafka, The Trial
 
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