The quietest novels

By

You've got to like Tuesday's piece in Slate by Jessica Winter, "Procrastination Lit: Great novels on wasting time".

Winter puts together a good list including "Bright Lights, Big City" by Jay Mcinerney and "Wonder Boys" by Michael Chabon.

Readers responded immediately with a few 19th-century examples, such as Goncharov's "Oblomov" and Mr. Micawber in "David Copperfield."

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

The one that first occured to me was "A Box of Matches" by Nicholson Baker in which a man rises early every morning and sits by the fire meditating on the minutiae of existence – and that's pretty much all that happens.

But of course it's also true that there's probably nothing wasted about time spent in pursuit of a higher truth, even if it looks to an observer like doing nothing.

So perhaps the question here is: What are the novels that most successfully postpone all action – and yet keep you reading?

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...