This is the second in a series of lists I am publishing to provide a concise and engaging overview of the literature of different cultures. I want to make clear that the purpose of this list is NOT to list the 50 best American novels. Rather, it is to provide what I consider a good overview, summary or cross-section of a culture's literature. For these lists, I have a framework that I am working within which is as follows:
1) the novels should reflect the different periods of the course of literature over time, from the earliest literature to the most recent;
2) only ONE novel per author is allowed (a difficult task for authors such as Dickens, Hemingway, Coetzee, Austen, Mann, Dostoevsky, Murakami & Atwood, for instance);
3) the novels must cover all major genres;
4) the novels should reflect all aspects of a culture/country as much as possible; and
5) where possible, a few 'popular' novels, such as crime novels, should be included.
(NB Dracula should be and is on my Irish list)