Granta 43: Best of young British novelists

by Bill Buford (Editor)

Paperback, 1993






New York, NY : Granta USA, 1993


Ten years after the success of the 1983 Best of Young British Novelists issue, four judges - A.S. Byatt, Salman Rushdie, bookseller John Mitchinson and Granta editor Bill Buford - set out to identify twenty more young and promising writers. The list introduced astonishing emerging talents: Alan Hollinghurst, Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, A.L. Kennedy and many more. A widely varied anthology including novel extracts and stories that showcase a generation of writers coming into its own.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
A collection of short pieces by (mostly) prominent British authors (circa 1993).
Editors included Salman Rushdie and A.S. Byatt.
However, the problem with this concept is that great novelists don't tend to be great short-story writers. Many of the writers included have simply contributed excerpts
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from longer works, which tend to feel unfinished and abrupt. I was particularly disappointed in the Iain Banks selection - a brief snippet from 'Complicity,' which I've already read.
In the introduction, Granta's editor notes that a collection like this is really an advertisement to get people to buy novels. (It also served to make me glad, yet again, that I opted not to work in publishing, but that's another issue). Most of the selections weren't intriguing enough to get me to seek out a book - but Anne Billson's story may be an exception. I also liked Louis de Bernières charming-if-sentimental, seemingly autobiographical piece, and the Kazuo Ishiguro screenplay made the whole thing worthwhile.
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LibraryThing member RobertOK
In 1983, Granta made a splash by putting out an edition of writing from what it thought were the 20 best British novelists under the age of 40. It made headlines because the majority of these writers were indeed immensely talented, influential and successful. Ten years on in 1993, Granta attempted
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it again and the result is this volume.
Here are 20 works largely taken from whatever book the author was about to publish at the time. Overall the reading experience is unsatisfying as consuming these excerpts out of the context of the novel they belong to leaves one feeling they've missed something. The most successful pieces are the short stories and the excerpts that are self-contained, such as Caryl Phillips' moving slavery story, "West," and Helen Simpson's beautiful, harrowing story, "Heavy Weather," about adapting to mothering a jealous toddler and a newborn.
Granta's editors weren't as successful in catching fire in 1993. I'd say less than half of these authors turned out to be members of Britain's "Best," and that includes two who were repeated here from the earlier list because they were still under 40. Still, it's a large collection of good to terrific writing and some prove to be very good teasers for the full novel and other work from the authors.
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