The year of the Picador Classic

26 November 2015

In January 2015, we launched the #PicadorClassic series with twenty-four novels. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve added a further fifteen titles into this spectacular list.

But what makes a novel classic? As Ezra Pound said ‘A classic is a book that stayed news’.  

Here are a few that made it on to the list:

Blood Meridian

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece, Blood Meridian.

Set in the 1940s, the novel recounts the adventures of Kid, a young runaway who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving. Based on the historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the ideology upon which the American dream was founded.

Phillipp Meyer, author of The Son and American Rust, says ‘This is a book full of sermonizing, lecturing, instruction about the nature of mankind. Novels like this typically fail completely; this one works because every sentence is organic to the situation and characters.’

Continue reading

 

Room

The number-one bestseller, Room, is the story of a five-year-old called Jack, who lives in a single room with his Ma and has never been outside. When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world beyond the walls. Told entirely in Jack’s voice, Room is no horror story or tearjerker, but a celebration of resilience and the love between parent and child. 

Now adapted into a film, with Emma Donoghue writing the screenplay, the film is set for release in the UK on 15 January 2016.

Watch the trailer

 

Silence

Silence by Shusaku Endo is the author's most highly acclaimed work and has been called one of the twentieth century's finest novels. As empathetic as it is powerful, it is an astonishing exploration of faith and suffering and an award-winning classic. ​​​

It's 1640 and Father Sebastian Rodrigues, an idealistic Jesuit priest, sets sale for Japan determined to help the brutally oppressed Christians there. He is also desperate to discover the truth about his former mentor, rumoured to have renounced his faith under torture. Rodrigues cannot believe the stories about a man he so revered, but as his journey takes him deeper into Japan and then into the hands of those who would crush his faith, he finds himself forced to make an impossible choice: whether to abandon his flock or his God. 

Find out more about Silence

 

Plainsong

Plainsong is a novel that is often talked about at Picador with great reverence.

Set in the fictional town of Holt in Colorado, Plainsong tells the story of school girl Victoria Roubideaux, thrown out by her mother when she falls pregnant, and the McPheron brothers, the gentle farmers who take her in. This is a novel of haunting beauty; the kind of book that reminds you that human kindness does exist, and it moves you to tears. 

 

The Little Prince

All grown-ups were children once (but most of them have forgotten). 

First published in 1943, The Little Prince is a book about both childhood and adulthood that can be read as a parable, a war story, a classic children's fairy-tale, and many more things besides.

A pilot who has crash landed in the desert awakes to see an extraordinary little boy. 'Please,' asks the stranger, 'will you draw me a little lamb!' Baffled by the little prince's incessant questioning, the pilot pulls out his pencil, and starts to draw. As the little prince's curiosity takes them further on their journey together, the pilot is able to piece together an understanding of the tiny planet from which the prince has come and of his incredible travels across the universe.

Read the first chapter

 

Underworld

 

Don DeLillo’s mesmerizing novel opens with the Giants 1951 National League final, where Bobby Thomson hits the Shot Heard Round the World and wins the pennant race for the Giants. But on the other side of the planet, another highly significant shot was fired: the USSR's first atomic detonation. Underworld is a story of men and women together and apart, seen in deep, clear detail and in stadium-sized panoramas, shadowed throughout by the overarching conflict of the Cold War.

Don DeLillo talks about finding inspiration whilst writing Underworld