From Middlemarch to Money, the best stories of societies under stress

From The Guardian:

Money-by-Martin-Amis-007 Justin Cartwright was born in South Africa and educated in America and England. His novels have won numerous awards. In Every Face I Meet was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Leading the Cheers won the Whitbread novel award and The Promise of Happiness won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 2005. He has won other awards including a Commonwealth Writers' prize and the South African Sunday Times award. He lives in north London with his wife and, occasionally, with his two sons. From Middlemarch to Money, the novelist picks the best stories of societies under stress

1. Rabbit at Rest by John Updike

The Rabbit series is stunningly observant of changing America over five novels and four decades. Rabbit at Rest stands out. It is wonderfully assured, as though after three decades Updike know had come to know Rabbit Angstrom to the depths of his being.

2. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

India and its bewildering diversity, deployed in extravagant and beautiful prose.

3. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Dickens lived with the dark personal knowledge that you could go up or down in society and his novels often have a dark shadow of the workhouse hanging over them. I could add at least three others, but Mr Merdle in Little Dorrit seems to come straight from one Dickens's own nightmares.

4. Disgrace by JM Coetzee

Devastating and prescient on the state of South Africa, post-apartheid. Although his take on the new South Africa was dark, his intimations both about the tolerance of violence and the disregard for high culture have proved horribly prophetic.

5. Middlemarch by George Eliot

The father of all English state of the nation novels and strangely contemporary in its multiple layers and themes, which include marriage, hypocrisy, politics and the status of women.

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