Hari Kunzru

A raft of modern classics from around the globe.



Hari Kunzru's stunning debut, The Impressionist, followed a chameleon-like hero around the world. His wild new novel, Gods Without Men, makes a single desert locale its stage, as native peoples, UFO believers, and one struggling 21st-century family converge across different eras on a mysterious monument. This week, he points us to three transporting works of fiction.


Books by Hari Kunzru



Soul Mountain

By Gao Xingjian


"This book by a Chinese Nobel Prize winner is part novel, part travelogue, and partly a collection of folkloric tales. Loosely inspired by the author's false diagnosis of lung cancer, it tells the story of an unnamed narrator who wanders in search of the magical 'soul mountain' of Lingshan. It oscillates between first and second person, creating a hallucinatory sense of a subject on a spiritual quest."



Memed, My Hawk

By Yashar Kemal


"This is the bloody and lyrical story of the noble Turkish village boy Memed, who is cruelly abused by a local landowner and becomes a notorious bandit. It's an evocation of the wild landscape of Anatolia and an an old-fashioned adventure story. Until the advent of Orhan Pamuk, this novel was probably the most internationally-acclaimed work of Turkish fiction."



The Sword of Honour Trilogy

By Evelyn Waugh


"Readers love the early Waugh novels for their absurdist humour and acid social observation, but Waugh's greatest work is undoubtedly this bitter elegy for the faded glories of the Anglo-Catholic aristocracy. The picaresque story of Guy Crouchback's misadventures in the Second World War is simultaneously funny and tragic, as its hero's illusions about his class and country are punctured, one by one."

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.