Reading lists

Five books that greatly moved novelist Barney Norris

Barney Norris, author of Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, recommends five books that moved him.

Amongst Women by John McGahern

I think McGahern peerless and the real serious business of saying things stems from him for me. My brother gave me his 'Memoir' one Christmas and the voice was like a storm happening. What he was capable of making clear about the stakes of a life, the vastness and littleness of a life, is astounding. Too many books aren't better than watching the TV. This changes the way I see every time I read it.

The Spire by William Golding

A high water mark in the history of prose style. What he does with the verb 'to love' is masterful and suffused with extraordinary feeling. Crucially, he also finds this intoxicating way of showing us the feeling buried in a landscape, connecting the burning of a soul with the visual surround, so that the whole of the world is speaking of the urge that animates the book.

Molloy by Samuel Beckett

I find this very moving, it's my favourite Beckett piece. It has immense heart in the way it treats of parent-child relationships, it says something very sad and true about being in the world, I think it offers a rich example of the way life can be used to make story, and it's deceptive simplicity - a voice speaking to you - I find magnetic.

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