Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Complete works" - 9 authors

While I used to as a young adult, I don't read that many books in series any more.  I actually may go ahead and read Pullman's Golden Compass Trilogy, since I am deciding whether my son is old enough to read it, or if he needs to wait another few years.

What I tend to do instead is to try to read through an author's complete works, ideally chronologically, though that isn't a huge sticking point. I've generally listed the date of first publication, when that was clear, rather than the date of the published translation.

So far, I have managed to get through Saul Bellow's novels (except Ravelstein), Graham Greene, Barbara Pym, and Robert Kroetsch (except for But We Are Exiles).

Here is my progress to date on the next couple of rounds of authors I hope to cover.

The codes are: X (read), XX (re-read), O (own but haven't read), VPL (at the Vancouver Library).  I am only using VPL codes for Mahfouz, though perhaps way, way, way down the road might use it for Skvorecky as well, since he can also be hard to track down.  The other authors are pretty easy.

Naguib Mahfouz  (actually I am not listing his ancient Egypt novels, since I don't intend to ever read them.  There are a few I read so long ago, including Midaq Alley, that I probably ought to re-read them.)

X Cairo Modern  (1945)
X Khan Al-Khalili (1945)
X Midaq Alley (1947)
X The Mirage (1948)
X The Beginning and The End (1950)
X The Cairo Trilogy (1956-7) (Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street)
X The Children of Gebelawi/Children of the Alley (1959)
X The Thief and the Dogs (1961)
X Autumn Quail (1962)
. God's World (1962) & Zaabalawi (1963) (short stories)
O The Search (1964)
O The Beggar (1965)
O Adrift on the Nile (1966)
O Miramar (1967)
O Mirrors (1972)
X Love in the Rain (1973?)
X Karnak Cafe (1974)
. Heart of the Night (1974?)
O Respected Sir (1975)
TPL The Harafish (1977)
. In the Time of Love (1980) 
O Arabian Nights and Days (1981)
O Wedding Song (1981)
. The Final Hour (1982)
O The Journey of Ibn Fattouma (1983)
X The Day the Leader was Killed (1985)
The Hunger (1986)
TPL Morning and Evening Talk
O The Fountain and the Tomb (1988)
X The Coffee House (1988)
O The Time and the Place and Other Stories (1965-89)
TPL Echoes of an Autobiography
TPL The Seventh Heaven
TPL Voices from the Other World
O Mahfouz at Sidi Gaber (2001)
O The Dreams (2004)
O Dreams of Departure (2005)

R.K. Narayan

Curiously it is not terribly difficult to get all his novels in 4 omnibus volumes from Penguin India (The Magic of Malgudi, Memories of Malgudi, The World of Malgudi and A Town Called Malgudi), but the short stories are a different matter.  I own all of these novels, as well as the novella The Grandmother's Tale, so I won't bother noting that.

X    Swami and Friends (1935)
X    The Bachelor of Arts (1937)
X    The Dark Room (1938)
X    The English Teacher (1945)
X    Mr. Sampath: The Printer of Malgudi (1948)
X    The Financial Expert (1952)
X    Waiting for the Mahatma (1955)
X    The Guide (1958)
    The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961)
    The Vendor of Sweets (1967)
    The Painter of Signs (1977)
    A Tiger for Malgudi (1983)
    Talkative Man (1986)
    The World of Nagaraj (1990)
    Grandmother's Tale (1992)

Vladimir Nabokov

Novels written in Russian:
X King, Queen, Knave (1928)
X The Eye (1938)
Glory (1932)
X Laughter in the Dark (1938)
X Invitation to a Beheading (1936)
X Despair (1937, rewritten by Nabokov in 1965)
X The Gift (1938)
The Enchanter (1939)

Novels written in English:
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight  (1941)
Bend Sinister (1947)
X Lolita (1955)
Pnin (1957)
Pale Fire (1962)
Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969)
Transparent Things (1972)
Look at the Harlequins! (1974)

(The Library of America 3 volume set covers the novels written in English.  I currently own them, but probably will part with them before too long.  Nabokov is really not my cup of tea. Definitely don't think reading the index cards comprising The Original of Laura is worth my time or really anyone's other than a complete Nabokov fanatic.)

Margaret Atwood

X   The Edible Woman (1969)
X   Surfacing (1972)
X    Lady Oracle (1976)
    Dancing Girls (1977)
    Life Before Man (1979)
    Bodily Harm (1981)
    Murder in the Dark (1983)
    Bluebeard's Egg (1983)
X    The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
XX    Cat's Eye (1988)
   Wilderness Tips (1991)
    The Robber Bride (1993)
   Good Bones and Simple Murders (1994)
    Alias Grace (1996)
O    The Blind Assassin (2000)
O    Oryx and Crake (2003)
    The Penelopiad (2005)
X   Moral Disorder (2006)
X  Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2008)
    The Year of the Flood (2009)
    Maddaddam (2013) (third novel in Oryx and Crake trilogy)
X   The Heart Goes Last

Timothy Findley

    The Last of the Crazy People (1967)
O    The Butterfly Plague (1969)
X    The Wars (1977)
X   Famous Last Words (1981)
XX   Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984) -- also saw a musical version of this!
    Dinner Along the Amazon (1984)
O  The Telling of Lies (1986)
O  Stones (1988)
XX   Headhunter (1993)
O   The Piano Man's Daughter (1995)
X  You Went Away (1996)
O  Dust to Dust
O  From Stone Orchard (1998)
O  Pilgrim (1999)
O  Spadework (2001)
X  Elizabeth Rex (actually a play)

Josef Skvorecky

The Cowards 1958
X The Bass Saxophone  1967
O Miss Silver's Past 1969
The Republic of Whores 1969
O The Mournful Demeanor of Lieutenant Boruvka
O The Miracle Game 1972
O Sins for Father Knox 1973
The Swell Season 1975
O The End of Lieutenant Boruvka 1975
X The Engineer of Human Souls 1977
O The Return of Lieutenant Boruvka 1980
O Dvorak In Love 1984
The Bride from Texas 1992
The Tenor Saxophonist's Story 1993
The Edenvale Stories 1996
Two Murders in My Double Life 1999
An Inexplicable Story, or, The Narrative Of Questus Firmus Siculus 1998
Brief Encounter, With Murder 1999
O When Eve Was Naked 2000
Encounter at the End of an Era, With Murder 2001

Don DeLillo

X   Americana (1971)
    End Zone (1972)
O   Great Jones Street (1973)
O   Ratner's Star (1976)
O   Players (1977)
    Running Dog (1978)
O   The Names (1982)
X   White Noise (1985)
    Libra (1988)
O   Mao II (1991)
X  Underworld (1997)
O  The Body Artist (2001)
O  Cosmopolis (2003)
O  Falling Man (2007)
O  Point Omega (2010)

(I will re-read White Noise for sure; I am just as sure I won't be rereading Underworld.  Minor update: I came very close to buying a second copy of The Names -- glad I held off.  I'd actually like to get back around to White Noise -- and am contemplating rereading Atwood's The Edible Woman at about the same time -- but this raises the question of whether just to go and do it, or wait until I read it in sequence, which would mean reading 6 more DeLillo novels in the interim, and probably at least two more years from now.  One semi-compromise would be to start at Running Dog and then circle back around to End Zone down the road perhaps after Mao II.  That idea has potential.)

Haruki Murakami

O  A Wild Sheep Chase   1982
X Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World   1985
O Norwegian Wood    1987
Dance Dance Dance     1988
South of the Border, West of the Sun     1992
O The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle     1995
O The Elephant Vanishes
O Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
X Sputnik Sweetheart    1999
X After the Quake 1999
O Kafka on the Shore    2002
X After Dark     2004
X 1Q84   2009
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage   2013
Men Without Women   2017

(I got quite a good deal on 1Q84, but it is obvious that by the time I finally get around to reading this book, I could have waited and gotten the super discounts, even if it never goes down to a penny plus shipping.  I've brought most of Murakami out of storage, which certainly increases the odds of reading some, and I believe that a few have been added at the tail end of my current TBR pile.  However, I cannot locate Norwegian Wood, so I might just check that one out from the library.)

John Steinbeck

The Pastures of Heaven (1932)
The Red Pony (1933)
To a God Unknown (1933)
Tortilla Flat (1935)
In Dubious Battle (1936)
Of Mice and Men (1937)
The Long Valley (1938)
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
The Forgotten Village (1941)
The Moon Is Down (1942)
X Cannery Row (1945)
X The Wayward Bus (1947)
The Pearl (1947)
Burning Bright (1950)
The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951)
East of Eden (1952)
Sweet Thursday (1954)
X The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957)
Once There Was A War (1958)
The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)
X Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)
America and Americans and Selected Non-fiction 
X The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976)

(I probably ought to throw Faulkner in right about here, but I think I'll just wait until I can cross off a couple of authors at the top of the list.  Similarly, I am starting to wonder about Iris Murdoch and her oeuvre.  She's fallen out of fashion lately, and I am just perverse enough to read all her novels simply because nobody else is doing so.  I have her works listed here.)

These are not complete works by these two authors, but still are significant series that I may tackle some day:

Elizabeth Jane Howard's The Cazalet series:
The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off, All Change

C.P. Snow's Strangers and Brothers series (in (internal) chronological order):
    Time of Hope (1949)
    George Passant (first called Strangers and Brothers) (1940)
    The Conscience of the Rich (1958)
    The Light and the Dark (1947)
    The Masters (1951)
    The New Men (1954)
    Homecomings (1956)
    The Affair (1960)
    Corridors of Power (1964)
    The Sleep of Reason (1968)
    Last Things (1970)

While I probably have all of Pym listed somewhere (and indeed I now own most of her novels aside from one or two) and I have sort of committed to Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet series (one of these days), I got quite interested in another British female author, who was actually a friend of Howard's and Pym and Elizabeth Bowen: Elizabeth Taylor.  She wrote 12 novels and 4 collections of short stories (which were all collected into a large Complete Short Stories by Virago as well as a Selected Stories published by NYRB).  Well, it wasn't too long before I finally wavered and I ordered a fair number of them (for not much more than shipping):

O At Mrs. Lippincote's (1945)
X Palladian (1946) shows most clearly the influence of Jane Austen.
X A View of the Harbour (1947)
. A Wreath of Roses (1949)
X A Game of Hide and Seek (1951)
O The Sleeping Beauty (1953)
. The Real Life of Angel Deverell (published as Angel,1957)
O In a Summer Season (1961)
The Soul of Kindness (1964)
. The Wedding Group (1968)
O Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1971).
O Blaming (1976), posthumous

Short story collections
Hester Lilly (1954)
The Blush and Other Stories (1958)
A Dedicated Man and Other Stories (1965)
The Devastating Boys (1972)
(All included in Complete Short Stories (O).)

For good measure, I might as well list Elizabeth Bowen as well, though I may be slightly more measured in gathering her novels up.

X The Hotel (1927)
The Last September (1929)
Friends and Relations (1931)
X To the North (1932)
X The House in Paris (1935)
X The Death of the Heart (1938)
. The Heat of the Day (1949)
A World of Love (1955)
A Time in Rome (1960)
. The Little Girls (1964)
. Eva Trout (1968)

O The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen (1980)
. The Bazaar and Other Stories (2008) (uncollected stories)

Update (11/16)

I decided to go ahead and add V.S. Naipaul as well, even though he is a somewhat grumpier writer than I usually "collect."  I believe at one point I owned The Mimic Men, but I don't believe I do any longer nor did I get around to reading it.  Fairly recently, I picked up The Nightwatchman's Occurrence Book, which collects several of Naipaul's shorter books: The Suffrage of Elvira, Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion and A Flag on the Island. I did read A Bend in the River, but I don't recall a lot about it.  I suspect some day I will reread A House for Mr Biswas, but I'm not nearly as sure about A Bend in the River.

V.S. Naipaul

O  The Mystic Masseur (1957)
O  The Suffrage of Elvira (1958)
O  Miguel Street (1959)
X  A House for Mr Biswas (1961)
X  Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion (1963)
    The Mimic Men (1967)
O  A Flag on the Island (1967)
    In a Free State (1971) (won the Booker Prize)
    Guerrillas (1975)
X   A Bend in the River (1979)
X  The Enigma of Arrival (1987)
     A Way in the World (1994)
     Half a Life (2001)
     Magic Seeds (2004)


  1. The only ones I'd like to and might possibly manage someday are Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, and Stephen King (and he's out of loyalty to my teenage years). The only authors that I've completed are Poe and Shakespeare.

    1. I don't think I would attempt to tackle Stephen King, since he just keeps churning them out. Better to stick with novelists who only come out with one book every two years (at most). And dead novelists are even better!