What is your single favourite novel?

Harpo

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Gargantua And Pantagruel by François Rabelais, in the translation by Sir Thomas Urquhart.
 

HareBrain

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If I have one at all, it's Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, for the brilliance of its central conceit, the way it drags you in so that you almost believe it yourself, and the wide range of its esoteric interest.
Having just re-read two thirds of it, can I retract this choice please?
 

hitmouse

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I really didnt like FP when I read it, when it first became availabe in paperback. I suspect my criticism migjt be a little more nuanced than it was in my undergraduate days, but I doubt it would change very much.
 

Matteo

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Sounds like another thread might be born...

I'm really pleased with the response to this tread; some interesting and diverse choices (not just restricted to SF&F) and most people have managed to stick to the rule - meaning that for most people one book really can stand out from the rest.
 

HareBrain

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I remember really enjoying Foucault's Pendulum. Now I'm worried.
Were you quite young at the time? I can easily see why I thought so highly of it in my early twenties. The central idea still shines through -- and is still breathtaking when it comes -- but now I can't help noticing how it keeps bogging down in the intricacies of eighteenth century German freemasonry and the like. And surely nobody on Earth actually has the kind of conversations his characters do.
 

CTRandall

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Were you quite young at the time? I can easily see why I thought so highly of it in my early twenties.
Yep. I recently re-read the Illuminatus! trilogy, which does a similar thing (I'm stretching that a bit) but in a very light-hearted, over-the-top, absurd extreme. I still really like those books and suspect that FP would seem dry in comparision, now.

That said, Eco did another novel about 10 years ago, Baudolino, which was a decent read. Not earth-shatteringly good but a nice diversion.
 

IanMH

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I've always chosen Catch-22 for this question. It had an enormous impact on me and has shaped a lot of my views on politics and society. It's also darkly funny and horrifying in equal measure. 1984 might get all the recognition, but for my money there is no book better than Catch-22 at summarizing our times and how dehumanizing our modern society truly is.
Good choice! Hadn't thought of that one. May have to consider it seriously.
 

IanMH

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Had to flick through the whole thread to help me decide in case there were other contenders. Catch 22 came close but I'm going for Time Traveller's Wife (I think...)
 

IanMH

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No! Why did I say 'Time Traveller's Wife'? Loved it but Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is my favourite. (I think I've broken a rule of the thread. I won't change my mind anymore).
 

Heather Myst

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Well since I can't say A Song and Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin since it isn't a single book I will go with:

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
 
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