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What are the modern day classics for the older generation?

(39 Posts)
thedolly Mon 28-Sep-09 23:30:13

My FIL doesn't read anymore because he thinks he will never read anything as great as 'Kafka'. Please help me to reignite his love of reading by suggesting something that he might like (hopefully love).

Thank you smile

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Sep-09 01:48:49

Are you sure FIL's eyesight isn't so shot he can't read any more? hmm Kafka was a miserable bugger at best, maybe that's what really put FIL off. grin

thedolly Tue 29-Sep-09 09:12:45

FIl's eyesight is fine but he is also a miserable bugger grin

thedolly Tue 29-Sep-09 11:32:03

Can anyone suggest a modern day 'classic' for an aged 70+ FIL who reckons he has read all the good stuff?

(He loved Les MIserables)

LaSoiDisantDame Tue 29-Sep-09 11:38:16

My fil loved 'The Road to Wigan Pier' by Orwell as a gift but as he was born in Lancashire around the time it was written so it was sort of perfect for him. Plus he's a fan of gritty social commentary!

Hmm as Les mis deals with hard lives maybe something by Steinbeck. 'Grapes of Wrath' maybe, my personal fave?

thedolly Tue 29-Sep-09 11:49:10

I would imagine he has read both of those LaSo. I was thinking more of something that has been published say in the last 10 years or so, classics of the future IYKWIM.

Any ideas?

LaSoiDisantDame Tue 29-Sep-09 12:33:22

Oh in that case...

What about 'This thing of darkness' by Harry Thompson?

or maybe 'Any Human Heart' by William Boyd, 'A prayer for Owen meany' John Irving, 'Remains of the Day' Kasho Ishguro (sp?)'The Line of Beauty' Alan Hollinghurst?

Tbh I've been reading so may Old Classics recently it's hard to think of Modern modern classics.

Just realised all those authors were male, wasn't intentional shock To throw in some females, how about Margaret Atwood or A S Byatt?

thedolly Tue 29-Sep-09 12:37:35

I have read Owen Meany and Remains of the Day and would say that they are probably not thought provoking enough for FIL.

Not sure about the others - I will get googling smile

JeffVadar Tue 29-Sep-09 14:33:21

A few that spring to mind are:

Iris Murdoch
Julian Barnes
Ian McEwan
Salman Rushdie
John Updike

Personally I have found these fairly hard work (except Rushdie who was unreadable) so they might fit the bill!

Acinonyx Tue 29-Sep-09 16:16:53

Milan Kundera has been compared to Kafka - perhpas he would enjoy something like 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'. A bit more than 10 years (I'm getting on myself....).

Hmmm. Novels with a philosophical twist.

Sophie's World, J Gaarder.

If he likes that kind of sureal existential stuff has he read any Herman Hesse e.g. 'Steppenwolf'?

Cult classics like 'The Dice Man' Luke Rhinehart.

thedolly Tue 29-Sep-09 17:45:41

Thanks folks, lots of ideas there smile

I love Ian McEwan JeffVader.

Apollinare Tue 29-Sep-09 18:06:56


Relieved someone else also found Salmon Rushdie unreadable! Have just taken the 'Enchantress of florence' back to the library after ploughing through one chapter. Have also given up on 'Midnights children' in the past. A great and lyrical wordsmith but a rather tedious storyteller.

thedolly Tue 29-Sep-09 20:09:24

Any recommendations Apollinare?

Apollinare Tue 29-Sep-09 22:37:42

'Maps for lost lovers' by Nadeem Aslam (Booker long listed 2004 but should have won)
Had forgotton how much I loved this, will now have to reread.

I loved both books by Khaled Hosseini, but personally found 'A thousand splendid suns' more thought provoking, politically.

Another vote for William Boyd, esp Brazzaville Beach and Restless.

thedolly Wed 30-Sep-09 08:43:10

Thanks smile

thedolly Wed 30-Sep-09 20:01:52

Anymore ideas for classics of tomorrow?

mellifluouscauliflower Wed 30-Sep-09 20:17:16

What about The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre? Men always seem to like Le Carre and he would be a contemporary of your FiL, which might help..

Jux Wed 30-Sep-09 20:34:11

Robertson Davies or A S Byatt or Doris Lessing, but mainly Robertson Davies. I would suggest the Cornish Trilogy to start

thedolly Wed 30-Sep-09 21:30:54

Thanks very much, I've got a few to work on now. I'm planning on putting together a 'get back into reading' package for him for Christmas. I hope it works out.

francagoestohollywood Wed 30-Sep-09 21:38:58

I always recommend Nemirovski's Suite Francaise.

thedolly Wed 30-Sep-09 21:47:05

Yes franca I could see that working, thanks smile.

thedolly Thu 01-Oct-09 09:26:08

Any other recommendations to rival Nemirovski's Suite Francaise?

helpivegottogivebirth Thu 01-Oct-09 09:40:08

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

wilbur Thu 01-Oct-09 09:42:07

The Corrections - fabulous family story with what feels like a very accurate depiction of older people as well as the younger generation.

Franca - have got Suite Franciase on shelf waiting for me. V excited.

Sunshinemambo Thu 01-Oct-09 09:52:56

Second the Corrections but what about things like Underworld by Don Delillo or Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels.

Also what about people like Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Isabel Allende?

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