And the winner is … “Lolita”!
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July 7, 2011, 4:45 PM
As if You Don’t Have Enough to Read, Fiction Edition
By HUGO LINDGREN
Carl Mydans//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Vladimir Nabokov catching a butterfly.
Well, hello again. After digesting your additions to, and critiques of, our nonfiction list, we decided to reconvene our panel of nonexperts (ourselves) and come right back at you with a list of the best fiction of all time. Using our customary precise, scientific approach, we asked each member of the staff to pick their five favorites. The full list is after the jump.
And the winner is … “Lolita”! Before bestowing this glorious honor, we went through an exhaustive series of bonus rounds. First, we asked everyone to vote again, this time for one book that a colleague cited but they had not. The second round helped “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” gain ground on “Lolita,” which had been an early leader. A dark horse, “The Great Gatsby” pulled out from the pack and gained on the front-runners. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” made a late surge. “Anna Karenina” fell back.
What to do? A bonus-bonus round, of course, pitting Vladimir Nabokov against Michael Chabon. It was a thrilling last leg of the race. Sweat beaded on the brows of editors as they e-mailed in their votes. Sam Anderson declared that as the magazine’s critic at large, he had the right to break the tie all by himself. From one photo editor came this primal howl: “L-O-L-I-T-A!!!!!!!” In the end, “Lolita” won by seven votes. (Sam approves.)
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