More Experimental Thrillers

I was delighted that my ‘Top 10 Experimental Thrillers’ piece for Guardian Books during the holidays (27/12/2017) prompted much online discussion, both about the titles I discuss – by Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Burroughs, Headley, Perec, et al – and of course about the many other possible contenders for inclusion. I promised (rather rashly) to pull these suggestions together for ease of reference.

Firstly, here is my reserve list. The ten novels (and Michael Moorcock’s short story collection) that I considered, but that didn’t make it into my final Top 10 for Guardian Books:

  • Michael Moorcock, The Metatemporal Detective

  • Tom McCarthy, Men in Space

  • Roberto Bolano, 2666

  • Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller…

  • Gertrude Stein, Blood on the Dining Room Floor

  • Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

  • Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman

  • Antonio Tabucchi, Pereira Maintains

  • Samuel Beckett, Mallone Dies

  • M John Harrison, Nova Swing

And here (with no additional commentary from me) are the suggestions made by friends – mainly on Facebook – and in reader comments submitted on Guardian Books in response to my article. N.B. i) where readers suggested an author or a body of work, I have selected one illustrative title. N.B. ii) suggestions of novels that were merely ‘experimental’, or the various suggestions for alternative introductions to the oeuvre of William S. Burroughs – rather than experimental thrillers per se – have not been included here:

  • Ivan Vladislavić, 101 Detectives

  • Trevor Hoyle, Blind Needle

  • Sebastian Japrisot, The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

  • Georges Simenon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By

  • Boileu-Narcejac, The Living and the Dead

  • Friedrich Durrenmatt, Suspicion

  • Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

  • Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

  • Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley

  • John Franklin Bardin, The Deadly Percheron

  • Michel Houellebecq, The Map and the Territory

  • Richard Brautigan, Dreaming of Babylon

  • Kobo Abe, The Ruined Map

  • Norman Spinrad, Bug Jack Barron

  • Andrea Marie Schenkel, The Dark Meadow

  • Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

  • China Mieville, The City and the City

  • Jean Patrick Manchette, The Prone Gunman

  • Leonardo Sciascia, The Day of the Owl

  • Carlo Emilio Gadda, Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana

  • Cameron McCabe, The Face on the Cutting Room Floor

  • Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man

  • Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemens’ Union

  • Agatha Christie, The ABC Murders

  • Michel Butor, L’emploi du temps / Passing Time

With thanks to Chris Power, Aaron Williamson, Jason Bowman, Nicholas Royle, abkquan, Laurence Bury, stvkiley, renaultfloride, kushti, keithyd, Matthew Cobb, praxismakesperfec, andrew staines, referendum, Martin Silenus, proust.

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Tony White, ‘Top 10 Experimental Thrillers’, Guardian Books

‘Under the Paving Stones’ — Faber Social and Tony White present a night of experimental fiction with Iphgenia Baal, Kirsty Gunn, Stewart Home, Joanna Walsh, Tony White and Eley Williams – 19 February 7:00 pm.

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