A Life in Books: Edmund White

Oct. 1, 2007 issue - It's no surprise that Edmund White, admired for his exhaustively researched historical novels "Fanny: A Fiction" and this year's "Hotel de Dream," would spend four of his five picks for all-time must-reads on classic works from the past.

My Five Most Important Books

"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov. So funny, so extreme, so dangerous that its very outrageousness makes its classic love story viable.

"Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert. Out of gimlet-eyed scorn arose a novel of bourgeois life that is a controlled work of art.

"Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy. Anna and Vronsky are so real you can smell them!

"In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust. A long masterpiece that's a short alternative life for the reader.

"The Savage Detectives" by Roberto Bolaņo. The living heart of this book is the knowledge of what it would be like to be young and poor, and in love with art and sex.


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