What? No Daniel Fuchs? Where is Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow? Why Paul Auster and not Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit To Brooklyn? Joesph O’Neill’s Netherlands and much of Louis Auchincloss should be here, as well as Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Best novels about New York City
1. Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox
Fierce, strange and savagely insightful, this 1970 classic looks at Brooklyn gentrification and charts a couple’s romantic downfall.
2. The Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem
Comics and music infuse this whip-smart, deeply felt and slightly autobiographical meditation on youth, race and Boerum Hill.
3. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
Long maligned and misunderstood, this satire of Wall Street excess is at once disgusting, hilarious and totally relevant to our financially crippled era.
4. New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster
Gotham emerges with a patina of pure quirkiness in Auster’s triptych of pomo noir, which still stands out as his best work.
5. No Lease on Life, by Lynne Tillman
A hilariously jaded East Village woman works as a proofreader by day, cracks jokes and rants about her neighborhood at night.
6. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Ellison’s hero might live in a hovel, but his jazz-infused visions of New York are vibrant and unforgettable.
7. House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Sure, some of it takes place on a country estate, but Wharton’s scenes in Grand Central and later in Lily Bart’s dilapidated apartment rank as the purest visions of the late-19th-century city’s interiors.
8. Underworld, by Don DeLillo
This far-reaching novel’s descriptions of postwar New York are executed with a combination of stunning detail and concealed dread.
9. Washington Square, by Henry James
Makes you happy that these days, most people can date whomever they choose.
—from Time Out New York, March 25, 2009
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