"This is it!"

The author of "The Blue Flower" picks five novels that rocked her world.

By Penelope Fitzgerald
Published August 2, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

With each one of these novels I thought, as soon as I'd read the first page, This is it. It's difficult to argue about this, although I've sometimes had to, but in reading many hundreds of novels, some of them very good, I've had the sensation quite rarely.

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

A novel unlike any other, set in the wasteland of Nagasaki after the war, where a seemingly quiet story of mothers and their small daughters takes an undefinably sinister turn.

Kruger's Alp by Christopher Hope

The first novelist I read who treated South African politics not as a tragedy but as a black farce (which, of course, is tragedy the other way up).

Httel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Exquisitely, meticulously written but still -- there isn't any other word for it -- romantic.

The Snapper by Roddy Doyle

You have to laugh, you can't help it, and you feel picked up and shaken by its energy, but I hope Roddy Doyle won't mind my saying that the great virtue of this book is tenderness.

The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills

The jacket picture of this brilliantly original first novel is, in my view, a mistake. The displaced Scottish fence-wirers don't kill anyone ... There are just a few unfortunate accidents.

Penelope Fitzgerald

Penelope Fitzgerald is the author of "The Blue Flower" and other novels.

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