Ben Myers’s Top Ten Favorite Novellas

1. A Month in the Country, by JL Carr
A near-perfect story about a man who renovates a church in an idyllic rural English village, post-World War I. This book smells of summer.

2. Revenge of the Lawn, by Richard Brautigan
A short collection of ultra-short stories from the king of economical writing.

3. 1933 Was a Bad Year, by John Fante
Or indeed any book by John Fante.

4. The Bird Room, by Chris Killen
Love, sex and insecurity in modern day Manchester. “Comedy” doesn’t get much blacker. Novels don’t come much more pared down.

5. Everyday, by Lee Rourke
I’m not sure if these short stories, which chart a psychogeographical journey through a London that the tourists don’t see, constitute a novella or not, but you should buy it anyway.

6. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with Sea, by Yukio Mishima
On a good day, no-one comes close to Mishima. The mad bastard.

7. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, by Roald Dahl
This magical novella made me want to keep reading books for the rest of my life.

8. The Witness, by Juan José Saer
This is very good, like a Spanish Heart of Darkness filtered through Borges. It was written in the 1980s but set in the 1600s. Again: is it a novella? Again: who cares?

9. Selections from the Journals, by Henry David Thoreau
I wanted to out Walden but that’s not a novella; these edited highlights however, are. Thoreau is less a writer and more a way of life.

10. Diary of a Mad Old Man, by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki
It’s hard to be both sad and funny and lascivious at the same time—here Tanizaki achieves all three.

Ben Myers is a writer of fiction. Poetry. Journalism. Novels. Music. He has books. Find him HERE.

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