THE 100 GREATEST NOVELS OF ALL TIME
original list by Robert McCrum for The Observer
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Don Quixote by Miguel De CervantesThe story of the gentle knight and his servant Sancho Panza has entranced readers for centuries.
Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanThe one with the Slough of Despond and Vanity Fair.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DefoeThe first English novel.
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan SwiftA wonderful satire that still works for all ages, despite the savagery of Swift's vision.
Tom Jones by Henry FieldingThe adventures of a high-spirited orphan boy: an unbeatable plot and a lot of sex ending in a blissful marriage.
Clarissa by Samuel RichardsonOne of the longest novels in the English language, but unputdownable.
Tristram Shandy by Laurence SterneOne of the first bestsellers, dismissed by Dr Johnson as too fashionable for its own good.
Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos De LaclosAn epistolary novel and a handbook for seducers: foppish, French, and ferocious.
Emma by Jane AustenNear impossible choice between this and Pride and Prejudice. But Emma never fails to fascinate and annoy.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Inspired by spending too much time with Shelley and byron.
Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love PeacockA classic miniature: a brilliant satire on the Romantic novel.
The Black Sheep by Honore De BalzacTwo rivals fight for the love of a femme fatale. Wrongly overlooked.
The Charterhouse of Parma by StendhalPenetrating and compelling chronicle of life in an Italian court in post-Napoleonic France.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas A revenge thriller also set in France after Bonaparte: a masterpiece of adventure writing.
Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli Apart from Churchill, no other British political figure shows literary genius.
David Copperfield by Charles DickensThis highly autobiographical novel is the one its author liked best.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff have passed into the language. Impossible to ignore.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Obsessive emotional grip and haunting narrative.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace ThackerayThe improving tale of Becky Sharp.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne A classic investigation of the American mind.
Moby-Dick by Herman MelvilleCall me Ishmael' is one of the most famous opening sentences of any novel.
Madame Bovary by Gustave FlaubertYou could summarise this as a story of adultery in provincial France, and miss the point entirely.
The Woman in White by Wilkie CollinsGripping mystery novel of concealed identity, abduction, fraud and mental cruelty.
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis CarrollA story written for the nine-year-old daughter of an Oxford don that still baffles most kids.
Little Women by Louisa M. AlcottVictorian bestseller about a New England family of girls.
The Way We Live Now by Anthony TrollopeA majestic assault on the corruption of late Victorian England.
Anna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe supreme novel of the married woman's passion for a younger man.
Daniel Deronda by George EliotA passion and an exotic grandeur that is strange and unsettling.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyMystical tragedy by the author of Crime and Punishment.
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry JamesThe story of Isabel Archer shows James at his witty and polished best.
Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainTwain was a humorist, but this picture of Mississippi life is profoundly moral and still incredibly influential.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis StevensonA brilliantly suggestive, resonant study of human duality by a natural storyteller.
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. JeromeOne of the funniest English books ever written.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeA coded and epigrammatic melodrama inspired by his own tortured homosexuality.
The Diary of a Nobody by George GrossmithThis classic of Victorian suburbia will always be renowned for the character of Mr Pooter.
Jude the Obscure by Thomas HardyIts savage bleakness makes it one of the first twentieth-century novels.
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine ChildersA prewar invasion-scare spy thriller by a writer later shot for his part in the Irish republican rising.
The Call of the Wild by Jack LondonThe story of a dog who joins a pack of wolves after his master's death.
Nostromo by Joseph ConradConrad's masterpiece: a tale of money, love and revolutionary politics.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth GrahameThis children's classic was inspired by bedtime stories for Grahame's son.
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel ProustAn unforgettable portrait of Paris in the belle epoque. Probably the longest novel on this list.
The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence Novels seized by the police, like this one, have a special afterlife.
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox This account of the adulterous lives of two Edwardian couples is a classic of unreliable narration.
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan A classic adventure story for boys, jammed with action, violence and suspense.
Ulysses by James Joyce Also pursued by the British police, this is a novel more discussed than read.
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Secures Woolf's position as one of the great twentieth-century English novelists.
A Passage to India by E. M. ForsterThe great novel of the British Raj, it remains a brilliant study of empire.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The quintessential Jazz Age novel.
The Trial by Franz Kafka The enigmatic story of Joseph K.
Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway He is remembered for his novels, but it was the short stories that first attracted notice.
Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine The experiences of an unattractive slum doctor during the Great War: a masterpiece of linguistic innovation.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner A strange black comedy by an American master.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Dystopian fantasy about the world of the seventh century AF (after Ford).
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh The supreme Fleet Street novel.
USA by John Dos Passos An extraordinary trilogy that uses a variety of narrative devices to express the story of America.
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler Introducing Philip Marlowe: cool, sharp, handsome - and bitterly alone.
The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford An exquisite comedy of manners with countless fans.
The Plague by Albert Camus A mysterious plague sweeps through the Algerian town of Oran.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell This tale of one man's struggle against totalitarianism has been appropriated the world over.
Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett Part of a trilogy of astonishing monologues in the black comic voice of the author of Waiting for Godot.
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger A week in the life of Holden Caulfield. A cult novel that still mesmerises.
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor A disturbing novel of religious extremism set in the Deep South.
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White How Wilbur the pig was saved by the literary genius of a friendly spider.
The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien Enough said!
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis An astonishing debut: the painfully funny English novel of the Fifties.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding Schoolboys become savages: a bleak vision of human nature.
The Quiet American by Graham Greene Prophetic novel set in 1950s Vietnam.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac The Beat Generation bible.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Humbert Humbert's obsession with Lolita is a tour de force of style and narrative.
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass Hugely influential, Rabelaisian novel of Hitler's Germany.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Nigeria at the beginning of colonialism. A classic of African literature.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark A writer who made her debut in The Observer - and her prose is like cut glass.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Scout, a six-year-old girl, narrates an enthralling story of racial prejudice in the Deep South.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller '[He] would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.'
Herzog by Saul Bellow Adultery and nervous breakdown in Chicago.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez A postmodern masterpiece.
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor A haunting, understated study of old age.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre A thrilling elegy for post-imperial Britain.
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison The definitive novelist of the African-American experience.
The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge Macabre comedy of provincial life.
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer This quasi-documentary account of the life and death of Gary Gilmore is possibly his masterpiece.
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino A strange, compelling story about the pleasures of reading.
A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul The finest living writer of English prose. This is his masterpiece: edgily reminiscent of Heart of Darkness.
Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee Bleak but haunting allegory of apartheid by the Nobel prizewinner.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson Haunting, poetic story, drowned in water and light, about three generations of women.
Lanark by Alasdair Gray Seething vision of Glasgow. A Scottish classic.
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster Dazzling metaphysical thriller set in the Manhattan of the 1970s.
The BFG by Roald Dahl A bestseller by the most popular postwar writer for children of all ages.
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi A prose poem about the delights of chemistry.
Money by Martin Amis The novel that bags Amis's place on any list.
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro A collaborator from prewar Japan reluctantly discloses his betrayal of friends and family.
Oscar And Lucinda by Peter Carey A great contemporary love story set in nineteenth-century Australia by double Booker prizewinner.
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera Inspired by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, this is a magical fusion of history, autobiography and ideas.
Haroun and the Sea af Stories by Salman Rushdie In this entrancing story Rushdie plays with the idea of narrative itself.
LA Confidential by James Ellroy Three LAPD detectives are brought face to face with the secrets of their corrupt and violent careers.
Wise Children by Angela Carter A theatrical extravaganza by a brilliant exponent of magic realism.
Atonement by Ian McEwan Acclaimed short-story writer achieves a contemporary classic of mesmerising narrative conviction.
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman Lyra's quest weaves fantasy, horror and the play of ideas into a truly great contemporary children's book.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth For years, Roth was famous for Portnoy's Complaint . Recently, he has enjoyed an extraordinary revival.
Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald Posthumously published volume in a sequence of dream-like fictions spun from memory, photographs and the German past.