Fifty Works of Fiction

A list of fifty novels and collections of short stories that have changed my life as a reader and a writer. In many cases, I could have listed multiple works by individual writers but chose to include here only a single work by each author, although in two cases the works I have listed consist of multi-volume narratives: Olivia Manning’s The Fortunes of War and Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet. I have linked to essays I have written about a few of these. (Listed alphabetically by author)

Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
4 3 2 1, Paul Auster
The Stories of Richard Bausch Richard Bausch
Far as the Eye Can See Robert Bausch
Gryphon Charles Baxter
The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay Michael Chabon
The Portable Chekhov Anton Chekhov
The Girl from Charnelle K L Cook
Academy Street Mary Costello
Libra Don DeLillo
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
The March E.L. Doctorow
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr
Selected Stories Andre Dubus
Pacific Tom Drury
Look at Me Jennifer Egan
Middlemarch, George Eliot
Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
The Sportswriter Richard Ford
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Ben Fountain
Long Man Amy Greene
Tinkers Paul Harding
Bang the Drum Slowly Mark Harris
Benediction Kent Haruf
Catch 22 Joseph Heller
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
The Surrendered Chang-rae Lee
The Orphan Master’s Son Adam Johnson
Tree of Smoke Denis Johnson
The House on Fortune Street Margot Livesey
Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
The Fortunes of War, Olivia Manning
Matterhorn Karl Marlantes
Carried Away (selected stories) Alice Munro
1Q84 Haruki Murakami
The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien
Emily, Alone Stewart O’Nan
The Moviegoer Walker Percy
Pears on a Willow Tree Leslie Pietrzyk
Empire Falls Richard Russo
The Raj Quartet Paul Scott
Ideas of Heaven Joan Silber
The Year We Left Home Jean Thompson
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The Collected Stories William Trevor
Zone One Colson Whitehead
Stoner John Williams
Our Story Begins (selected stories) Tobias Wolff

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