If you’re the kind of person – like me – who enjoys a good long read, you might be looking for something to get fully involved with over the next few weeks in ‘lockdown’. So here are some great chunky books that kept us gripped for over 500 pages…..
Famously ‘A Suitable Boy’ used to be the longest book available in the English language – not sure if that’s still the case – but at 1504 pages long (!!!!!) it’s going to keep you occupied! I read it in two weeks whilst on a road trip holiday. It’s an epic tale of families, romance and political intrigue that never loses its power to delight and enchant. At the core is a love story: the tale of Lata and her mother’s attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. At the same time, it’s the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis. I learnt A LOT about India’s history through reading this novel, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
At 1088 pages, ‘4,3,2,1’ is still a pretty meaty read, but it’s one I never tire of recommending to my customers. I polished it off in a week because I couldn’t put it down. It follows the entire life of Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, who is born on March 3rd, 1947. Family fortunes diverge. Loves, friendships, and passions contrast. But it’s the structure and premise that brought real joy to me with this one – so I can’t give too much away….You’ll have to read it for yourself to discover its unique fascination.
‘The Goldfinch’ is another one of those great books that follows the lead character all the way from childhood into adulthood. And it’s 880 pages of gripping brilliance. Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, (largely absent) father, survives a horrific accident that tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he’s taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, he learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich, and the dusty antiques store where he works. Alienated and in love, his talisman painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
A few other favourites to mention: ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ by John Irving (720 pages), ‘The Corrections’ by Jonathan Franzen (672 pages), ‘Blind Assassin’ by Margaret Atwood (656 pages), ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ Barbara Kingsolver (640 pages), ‘Capital’ by John Lanchester (592 pages)