7 votes

What are some good short novels?

I've read a few novels, I think an excellent short novel is Elevation by Stephen King. It's not what you'd expect from a Stephen King novel (no horror elements), but it's a great read. I can't say too much without spoiling it, but here's the blurb:

The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

It starts off a little slow, but give it a little bit of time. It's readable in an afternoon, I think I spent 5 or so hours reading it.

8 comments

  1. [2]
    nsz (edited ) Link
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - a look at genetic intelligence enhancement and it's consequences and just a compelling story/writing style, and boy I cried a little at the ending. The Old...

    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - a look at genetic intelligence enhancement and it's consequences and just a compelling story/writing style, and boy I cried a little at the ending.

    The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway - just a book about an old man fishing, but again I found the story and metaphor both compelling and relevant.

    10 votes
    1. kichelmoon Link Parent
      The Old Man and the Sea is my ultimate motivational book. Every time I put it down I feel full of energy and go play guitar for hours. It's such a great story.

      The Old Man and the Sea is my ultimate motivational book. Every time I put it down I feel full of energy and go play guitar for hours. It's such a great story.

      1 vote
  2. Deimos Link
    Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul is excellent, and won the 2013 Hugo award for best novella. It's set in the same world as some of his other stories (the Elantris series), but you don't need...

    Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul is excellent, and won the 2013 Hugo award for best novella. It's set in the same world as some of his other stories (the Elantris series), but you don't need to have read any of them.

    5 votes
  3. themadfarmer Link
    Also Flannery O'Connor is a master of the short story/novella form.

    Also Flannery O'Connor is a master of the short story/novella form.

    4 votes
  4. themadfarmer Link
    I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy in a day, so I'll consider it short. You'd be hard pressed to find a more powerful story anywhere, let alone in a book where the characters don't even have names.

    I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy in a day, so I'll consider it short. You'd be hard pressed to find a more powerful story anywhere, let alone in a book where the characters don't even have names.

    3 votes
  5. cadadr Link
    "Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa" by Antonio Tabucchi is a lovely one. It's somewhere between a novella and an essay on Pessoa and the multitude of personalities he's created. The text consists...

    "Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa" by Antonio Tabucchi is a lovely one. It's somewhere between a novella and an essay on Pessoa and the multitude of personalities he's created. The text consists of these personalities coming to visit Pessoa on his death bed.

    "Knulp" by Herman Hesse is something like an idea of a novel, a series of esquisses of a protagonist. Knulp is a sage, lonely vagabond that wanders around and spends nice time with people. People pity him, but also love him because he's always very kind and is a gentleman. I don't know why but this... thing really moves me. A favourite, definitely.

    Alabardas, Alabardas, Espingardas, Espingardas (= Spears, Spears, Rifles, Rifles) is an incomplete novel by Saramago. IDK if it's translated in English. It talks about why you don't see workers of a weapons factory strike, which is interesting in itself, and becomes way more interesting with the incredible narrative style of Saramago, but the most interesting thing about this one is that it is a window into the author's creative progress. It changed my ideas about posthumous publications and publication of incomplete works, which I used to not like. One interesting thing was, the Turkish publisher of the novel, Kırmızı Kedi, included Saramago's editorial notes too, which allows for even more insight to how Saramago wrote things. Which is similar to how I thought he did it: he did not start with a detailed big masterplan, but he started with an interesting idea and a general idea of the storyline, and went exploring from there. Which you really see in all of his novels. And it's what he does so greatly and what I admire about him.

    Öfkenin Şenliği (~= The Festivity of Fury) by Jaklin Çelik is about a woman, a descendant of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, selling a home she inherited, partly to free herself from the weight of the past. Along that storyline, we get to explore the family's past, and the small-scale effects of the huge event that was the genocide. It's a novel that brought tears to my eyes multiple times, was a tough read, and even now as I try to recall the details my eyes glisten and my throat firms up. It is one of those texts which make you remember that innumerable people that suffer in this sort of violent events are individuals like you and I. Another example, from film, is La vita è bella of Roberto Benigni, which is very inaccurate with facts, but incredibly good at telling you that a huge number like 6 million means 6 million individuals, all human, all with their stories, all like you and I. So moving, so eye opening, when you watch it in that key. And the said book is similar in that vein.

    2 votes
  6. kfwyre (edited ) Link
    Inside Job by Connie Willis. It's quite short, even for a novella, and would probably take only an hour or so to finish. The book centers on a debunker of all sorts of pseudoscientific hokum. He...

    Inside Job by Connie Willis.

    It's quite short, even for a novella, and would probably take only an hour or so to finish. The book centers on a debunker of all sorts of pseudoscientific hokum. He agrees to investigate a medium who claims to be able to channel an ancient goddess. When they meet up, everyone (including the medium) is surprised when she instead begins to channel the spirit of famous skeptic H. L. Mencken. Is she doing this as an elaborate and convincing con, or does this unexpected channel prove her abilities are real?

    I read it a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a perfect "single sitting" book.

    2 votes
  7. Duke Link
    Bit late but The Stranger is a favourite of mine!

    Bit late but The Stranger is a favourite of mine!

    1 vote