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Sunday, October 8, 2017

#50: The Mt. Rushmore Series

Inspired by a recent re-reading of "The Old Man And The Sea", I settled on devoting this iteration of my long-running Mt. Rushmore series to the four best short novels I've read in the 21st century. As always, I hope some of you will chime in with your nominations. Only two requirements: Must be a novel published after 1999 and shorter than 200 pages, i.e. able to be read by most in one long sitting. Mine are listed alphabetically by author.

1.) The Sense of An Ending: Julian Barnes (2011) - I've read this jewel three times since its release and each time my awe deepens. Since Clive Owens didn't get the role of Tony Webster in the recently released film version that came and went without a trace, I'm pretty sure I didn't miss much.

2.) Signs Preceding The End Of The World: Yuri Herrera (2015) - The shortest book here - just under one hundred pages - is a stunning and graphic story upending many closely held and virulently ugly immigrant clich├ęs. Two years later, I still haven't gotten the narrator's voice out of my head.

3.) The Illusion Of Separateness: Simon Van Booy (2013) - The immense craft of this gem escaped me until I tried capturing its richness in a brief book journal entry. If "It's A Wonderful Life" has touched you, this novel will rock you, guaranteed.

4.) The Maid's Version: Daniel Woodrell (2013) - I frequently find my way to excellent authors via paying attention to the source material of noteworthy films. When the credits for "Winter's Bone" told me it was adapted from a novel by Daniel Woodrell, he immediately went on my list. This later book of his is a nearly perfect examination of the class divide in rural America.

Though it's been a while since my last visit to the Badlands, it feels good to return. Will be better if some of you share your mountain - or just a part of it - with others.


  1. Rather than repeat any of your titles, I would mention Our Souls At Night : Kent Haruf (2015) - a mere 179 pages. This excellent novel was unusual in that EVERY member of my book discussion group gave it both thumbs up. I wish I could remember who originally recommended it to me so I might thank her!

  2. Two other short gems I would recommend are News Of The World by Paulette Jiles 2016 and Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 2015.

  3. Was just blown away by Brother by David Chariandy 2017. Gorgeous, painful, unexpected.