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I want to read something really intelligent and beautifully written

(253 Posts)
SalveRibena Sun 06-Oct-13 18:03:05

I have been reading crap on my Kindle for too long and now want to go back to reading Proper Books. Past favourites include Atonement, Bring Up The Bodies, The Poisonwood Bible, The Sea and The Line of Beauty.

Any advice?

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Sun 06-Oct-13 20:17:04

Have you tried any Sebastian Faulks, how about 'Birdsong'? Harrowing account of life during WW1 in the trenches, ultimately a love story but beautifully written.

nevergoogle Sun 06-Oct-13 20:17:14

A fine balance, rohinton mistry. beautifully written.

ParsingFright Sun 06-Oct-13 20:19:31

Oh, The English Patient, of course. And I suppose other Ondaatjie, though I haven't read any.

And any Nadine Gordimer or Andre Brink.

ParsingFright Sun 06-Oct-13 20:21:18

Regeneration by Pat Barker knocks spots off Birdsong, imho but I can't stand Faulks anyway, so don't listen to me.

Lizzylou Sun 06-Oct-13 20:21:19

Sunnysummer, loved Gilead too. Also Home and Housekeeping by the same author.

FaddyPeony Sun 06-Oct-13 20:21:51

Alice Munro
John Banville
Marylinne Robinson

Hassled Sun 06-Oct-13 20:22:17

Tender is the Night - F Scott Fitzgerald. One of my favourite books in the world.

AgentProvocateur Sun 06-Oct-13 20:22:43

I'd like to second (or even third?) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. My favourite book

The first in the Regeneration trilogy is good, but the other two (especially the 2nd) are terrible. Not as bad as Life Class though, which is embarrassingly awful.

Longtallsally Sun 06-Oct-13 20:27:31

Ooh lots of my favourites in your OP - specially Atonement and The Poisonwood Bible. Have you read Blind Assassin - Margaret Attwood. That would certainly fit alongside those two, also Alias Grace too.

I hated hated hated A Fine Balance. It makes Jude the Obscure look like a picnic in the park on a sunny day! I have travelled in India and loved the country, but am not sure I could ever go back now!!

ParsingFright Sun 06-Oct-13 20:28:32

Ah, thank you for the warning, Remus, I shan't bother with Life Class then.

AuntPittypat Sun 06-Oct-13 20:29:09

How about some old classics? I find Russian literature beautiful to read, especially Anna Karenina, Dr Zhivago or, if you've got stamina, War and Peace which I've still not finished, 7 years after starting

kiriwawa Sun 06-Oct-13 20:29:56

Has no one suggested Rose Tremain yet? Restoration is an obvious one but Music & Silence is wonderful, as is The Colour.

notnowImreading Sun 06-Oct-13 20:31:11

Have you read Possession by A S Byatt or Headlong by Michael Frayn? Both mysteries of a sort, very readable, with very vivid passages and the depiction of worlds you really want to live in.

mummybare Sun 06-Oct-13 20:35:21

I was also going to suggest A Fine Balance. And pretty much anything by Margaret Atwood. Feel really unoriginal now...

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson is good.

ShatterResistant Sun 06-Oct-13 20:36:08

I've just finished re-reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. Might not be serious enough for you, but it's really beautifully written, and a cracking read.

MinnesotaNice Sun 06-Oct-13 20:36:31

She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True - all by Wally Lamb

LordEmsworth Sun 06-Oct-13 20:41:27

If you like Ian McEwan, you might also like Graham Greene. Maybe: The End of the Affair, Travels With My Aunt, or Brighton Rock to start. The Heart of the Matter is my personal fave...

I second Rumer Godden. And throw in Barbara Pym - Excellent Women.

Parietal Sun 06-Oct-13 20:42:30

clare messud - the last life.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 06-Oct-13 21:07:04

Not fiction, but a memoir: What to Look for in Winter by Candia McWilliam

CooEeeEldridge Sun 06-Oct-13 21:10:04

Donna Tart - The Secret History, she has a new book coming out soon also..

Waswondering Sun 06-Oct-13 21:15:35

Grace Notes by Bernard Mclaverty. Beautiful book.

nettie Sun 06-Oct-13 21:28:15

Elegance of the Hedgehog, can't remember who it is by, but everyone in my book group loved it.

Kleptronic Sun 06-Oct-13 21:31:21

Another vote for AS Byatt's Possession. This is my favourite book; lyrical, passionate, learned, scholarly, a mystery, a love story, just beautiful.

If you want something longer in the same vein, Robertson Davies The Cornish Trilogy is good.

ParsingFright Sun 06-Oct-13 21:37:00

Yes yes YES to Possession. <happy sigh>

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