I love the conversations that the Literary Blog Hop has initiated. It has been so much fun to read everyone's opinions about these literary topics, and this week looks to prove no different. Please don't hesitate to join the conversation!
This week we are discussing the elusive term "Modern Classic". What makes a contemporary novel a classic?
First of all, I have to agree with Olivia @ The Independent Book Review that it does seem that classics are made when they join the conversation of people outside all the literary, academic people. Dickens is classic in part because he was read by everyone.
Also, I like the point that Ben @ Dead End Follies makes about social issues being a key ingredient in the relevance and importance of a novel becoming classic. We remember authors like Alexandre Dumas in part because of the historical details.
So, part of being a classic (either a traditional/time-tested 'old wrinkly' classic, or modern/contemporary 'old soul' potential classic) is its wide spread appeal as well as some sort of artistic expression of the times, something that touches our core being. These are easy to identify in the traditional classics because we have generations of opinions to judge against ours. How do we identify a modern classic though? The truth is that they should be read and judged in the same way. The only difference that we are the first tier of readers to log our opinions among the ranks.
So we ask: Does the book appeal to a wide range of people? Is it well written or artistically expressed? Does it make a statement about something of social relevance or an impact on our inner selves?
The Road (Cormac McCarthy) for my "Book you think should be a 21st Century Classic" for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2011, I haven't read it yet and so can't speak for its merit. The book I'd like to suggest is a Modern Classic is Snow by Orhan Pamuk. It is internationally renowned, a beautifully poetic look at Turkey and the huge differences between radical Islam and western ideals, and what it means to be happy. This book has that long-lasting old-soul feeling that will lend itself to timelessness.