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'Beloved' Tops Peers' List of Top Novels

May 20, 2006 (All Things Considered)

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Writer Toni Morrison, photographed in 2005.

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Toni Morrison's 1987 work Beloved is the best American novel of the past quarter-century. That's according to a vote of writers and critics who were invited to weigh in with their choices by The New York Times Book Review.

The 124 literary lights who responded to the Times invitation gave multiple mentions to five Philip Roth novels — especially American Pastoral. Cormac McCarthy has four books on the list: Blood Meridian plus his Border Trilogy. John Updike also has four: each of the novels in his Rabbit Angstrom series, which began with 1960's Rabbit, Run, but stretches into the 1990s.

Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus discusses the list... and the process... with Debbie Elliott.

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