Last week we were glad to hear that the novella is making a comeback. It’s also nice to know that people other than Ian McEwan are still writing them (On Chesil Beach is a heartbreaking and beautiful example of what he himself continues to do). But while Daily Beast fiction critic Taylor Antrim focused his lens on more recent examples of the form, we’ve decided to take a look at some classics. This is a short list about short books, so don’t get upset if your favorite isn’t here. Just add a mention in the comments.
Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
One of the most vexing novellas ever written, Bartleby swirls with the odd tension of inaction. It’s like an epic staring contest between the young, eponymous protagonist and the gloominess he sees in life ahead. Find a well lit booth at a quiet bar for this reading… and bring money for several drinks.