Ninety-nine Novels

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First edition (publ. Allison & Busby)
Cover art Richard Willson

Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939 — A Personal Choice is an essay by British writer Anthony Burgess, published by Allison & Busby in 1984. It covers a 44-year span between 1939 and 1983. Burgess was a prolific reader, in his early career reviewing more than 350 novels in just over two years for the Yorkshire Post. In the course of his career he wrote over thirty novels.

The list represents his personal choices.

In an interview with Don Swaim[1] Burgess reveals that the book was originally commissioned by a Nigerian publishing company, and written in two weeks.


Author Title Year
Chinua Achebe A Man of the People 1966
Brian Aldiss Life in the West 1980
Kingsley Amis Lucky Jim 1954
Kingsley Amis The Anti-Death League 1966
James Baldwin Another Country 1962
J. G. Ballard The Unlimited Dream Company 1979
John Barth Giles Goat-Boy 1966
Saul Bellow The Victim 1947
Saul Bellow Humboldt's Gift 1975
Elizabeth Bowen The Heat of the Day 1949
Malcolm Bradbury The History Man 1975
John Braine Room at the Top 1957
Joyce Cary The Horse's Mouth 1944
Raymond Chandler The Long Goodbye 1953
Ivy Compton-Burnett The Mighty and Their Fall 1961
William Cooper Scenes from Provincial Life 1950
Robertson Davies The Rebel Angels 1982
Len Deighton Bomber 1970
Lawrence Durrell The Alexandria Quartet 1957
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man 1952
William Faulkner The Mansion 1959
Ian Fleming Goldfinger 1959
John Fowles The French Lieutenant's Woman 1969
Michael Frayn Sweet Dreams 1973
William Golding The Spire 1964
Nadine Gordimer The Late Bourgeois World 1966
Alasdair Gray Lanark 1981
Henry Green Party Going 1939
Graham Greene The Power and the Glory 1940
Graham Greene The Heart of the Matter 1948
Wilson Harris Heartland 1964
L. P. Hartley Facial Justice 1960
Joseph Heller Catch-22 1961
Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls 1940
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea 1952
Russell Hoban Riddley Walker 1980
Richard Hughes The Fox in the Attic 1961
Aldous Huxley After Many a Summer 1939
Aldous Huxley Ape and Essence 1948
Aldous Huxley Island 1962
Christopher Isherwood A Single Man 1964
Pamela Hansford Johnson An Error of Judgement 1962
Erica Jong How to Save Your Own Life 1977
James Joyce Finnegans Wake 1939
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook 1962
David Lodge How Far Can You Go? 1980
Malcolm Lowry Under the Volcano 1947
Colin MacInnes The London Novels 1957
Norman Mailer The Naked and the Dead 1948
Norman Mailer Ancient Evenings 1983
Bernard Malamud The Assistant 1957
Bernard Malamud Dubin's Lives 1979
Olivia Manning The Balkan Trilogy 1960
W. Somerset Maugham The Razor's Edge 1944
Mary McCarthy The Groves of Academe 1952
Brian Moore The Doctor's Wife 1976
Iris Murdoch The Bell 1958
Vladimir Nabokov Pale Fire 1962
Vladimir Nabokov The Defense 1964
V. S. Naipaul A Bend in the River 1979
R. K. Narayan The Vendor of Sweets 1967
Robert Nye Falstaff 1976
Flann O'Brien At Swim-Two-Birds 1939
Flannery O'Connor Wise Blood 1952
John O'Hara The Lockwood Concern 1965
George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four 1949
Mervyn Peake Titus Groan 1946
Walker Percy The Last Gentleman 1966
James Plunkett Farewell Companions 1977
Anthony Powell A Dance to the Music of Time 1951
J. B. Priestley The Image Men 1968
Thomas Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow 1973
Mordecai Richler Cocksure 1968
Keith Roberts Pavane 1968
Philip Roth Portnoy's Complaint 1969
J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye 1951
William Sansom The Body 1949
Budd Schulberg The Disenchanted 1950
Paul Mark Scott Staying On 1977
Nevil Shute No Highway 1948
Alan Sillitoe Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 1958
C. P. Snow Strangers and Brothers 1940
Muriel Spark The Girls of Slender Means 1963
Muriel Spark The Mandelbaum Gate 1965
William Styron Sophie's Choice 1979
Alexander Theroux Darconville's Cat 1981
Paul Theroux The Mosquito Coast 1981
John Kennedy Toole A Confederacy of Dunces 1980
John Updike The Coup 1978
Gore Vidal Creation 1981
Rex Warner The Aerodrome 1941
Evelyn Waugh Brideshead Revisited 1945
Evelyn Waugh Sword of Honour 1952
T. H. White The Once and Future King 1958
Patrick White Riders in the Chariot 1961
Henry Williamson A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight 1951
Angus Wilson The Old Men at the Zoo 1961
Angus Wilson Late Call 1964
Herman Wouk The Caine Mutiny 1951

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