A number of wonderful novels from very promising writers have come out over the last twenty years. These novels are future classics that will serve as a time capsule of sorts for our age. These works of fiction come from a diverse number of genres but all of them have been excellently written and come very fresh perspectives. Pick up a book here, or pick all of them up, you won’t be disappointed.
1. The House of Leaves
This is a novel that will blow your mind not only with the way it is written – which is superbly by Mark E. Danielewski – but also with the way he actually presents his novel. Watch out for long-winded rants that would’ve been a deal breaker had it been written by any other writer. And this is the only novel where, at some point, you will need to use a mirror just to finish the whole book. If you’re not familiar with ergodic literature then pick up The House of Leaves and be prepared to have your socks knocked right off.
2. Fight Club
More people would obviously be more familiar with the movie adaptation of the novel (who wouldn’t with a star like Brad Pitt in top billing), but the novel is far more exquisite and subversive than the movie can ever hope to be (except for the excellent Dust Brothers soundtrack). Chuck Palahniuk burst through the scene with this novel on rebellion and anti-consumerism and it was a debut so explosive that he left a permanent mark in modern literature in just one book. Palahniuk is a master of storytelling and he has got to be the strongest writer in terms of punch among all of the modern players in literature right now. Check out his other books, too, because the man has kept the quality level of his prose at an exceptionally high level.
3. The Infinite Jest
Robert Foster Wallace may have only finished two novels before his tragic suicide in 2008 but he is forever immortalized with his exquisite novel The Infinite Jest. This a laborious work that involves characters that number in the hundreds (and almost 400 footnotes!) but the sheer largeness of the volume only manages to give you a physical idea of the breadth and depth of this wonderful work. This is a novel on addiction and Wallace, who has suffered his own set of demons, is the perfect voice to bring these struggles to life. This is a novel that will stay with you long after you have read it. This is one of those books that will change you forever.
4. The Road
Cormac McCarthy has managed to write a novel that combines the epic breadth of a great science fiction novel but inject it with the kind of humanity that you will not often see in this genre. The Road tells of the story of a man and his son who walk the desolate road of a post apocalyptic world – a world that is devoid of any hope and light except the love the father has for his son. This is one of those heartbreaking novels that will pull at your heartstrings. It’s no wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize
5. Tree of Smoke
There are many novels that have been written about the Vietnam War and its effects on people. But none has been written with such great care and devastating effect as Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke. This is can be considered as one of the pillars on which Vietnam era fiction should be placed upon. Johnson manages to tell the story many characters which paints a picture of the war as seen from very diverse perspectives. This is not so much as war fiction as a character study of war’s effect on humanity.