Great American Novels of the 21st Century

This month we’re reading The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation comes out tomorrow!), widely heralded as one of the Great American Novels, defined as “a novel that is distinguished in both craft and theme as being the most accurate representative of the zeitgeist in the United States at the time of its writing or in the time it is set.” There are lots and lots of lists out there that attempt to catalogue ALL of the Great American Novels, so we thought we’d start small(ish) and recent(ish). Here’s a gathering of some of the best novels from American authors from 2000-now.



Row 1: Swamplandia by Karen Russell; Netherland by Joseph O’Neill; Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson; These Dreams of You by Steve Erickson; Row 2: Bee Season by Myla Goldberg; A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan; Bel Canto by Ann Pachett; Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann; Row 3: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple; The Road by Cormac McCarthy; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Row 4: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Which ones did we miss? Any on here you would argue should not be considered a Great American Novel? — Kristen

Kristen is Public Relations Specialist at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @kristendickson.

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