big books

Cross Cultural Big Novels

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Can anyone think of any big novels that aren't American? In light of our discussion of future books to read, I've realized that everyone we've discussed is an American. I know one could easily say that Americans who have grown up with all the rhetoric of bigger is better and frontiers might be more naturally drawn to the big novel format, but I have a hard time imagining that one doesn't exist.

I thought briefly about my favorite book, 100 Years of Solitude. I haven't read it in two years or so, but I want to re-read it in the light of the big novel. I don't think that it fits a lot of the criteria for an encyclopedic narrative- that is, it is more of a cross-generational description than a capturing of a particular snapshot in time where the world changed, but at the same time, many aspects of the book are in line with big novels. For instance, magic realism seems like a very useful tool for a big novel, and the end, while somewhat conclusive, is also an unraveling in some ways. I know the book is somewhat a reinterpretation of the bible, but I don't see why that would preclude it from fitting in this role.

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