Some more recs here for very long books (weirdly, paywalled on the LA Times but syndicated on Yahoo News, don’t ask me…) that make for ideal quarantine reading:
The Gormenghast Novels is on my list, as is Chernow’s “Grant”. But many here I hadn’t heard of!
Your Face Tomorrow sounds awesome…
Our hero, Jaime Deza, separated from his wife in Madrid, is a bit adrift in London until his old friend Sir Peter Wheeler―retired Oxford don and semi-retired master spy―recruits him for a new career in British Intelligence. Deza possesses a rare gift for seeing behind the masks people wear. He is soon observing interviews conducted by Her Majesty’s secret service: variously shady international businessmen one day, would-be coup leaders the next. Seductively, this metaphysical thriller explores past, present, and future in the ever-more-perilous 21st century.
So does Wizard of the Crow:
Set in the fictional Free Republic of Aburiria, Wizard of the Crow dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for the souls of the Aburirian people, between a megalomaniac dictator and an unemployed young man who embraces the mantle of a magician. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, in this magnificent work of magical realism, Ngugi wa’Thiong’o—one of the most widely read African writers—reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity.
Really all of these seem like solid recs!
Interesting to note that a few of these are series / trilogies…or perhaps multi-volume novels, if that’s even a distinction that makes sense! From the article:
What’s the only thing better than one gigantic book? How about a group of linked books, all of them gigantic, adding up to an even more monumental work — one which gains power through its size. Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Lyndon B. Johnson is an example; so is William T. Vollmann’s massive nonfiction work “Carbon Ideologies.”
Do you feel like there’s any sort of important difference between a single “work” that’s split into multiple volumes for, you know, pesky little exigencies of time and space (too many pages; years between volumes, etc.) and something we’d instead call a “series”? Narrative concerns and publishing concerns can blend together…
Maybe the distinction is whether the author conceived / intended as a single cohesive work vs. if it’s more built around a world potentially containing various related stories but without one clear arc / endpoint?