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What's The Longest Damn Novel You've Ever Read?

Illustration for article titled Whats The Longest Damn Novel Youve Ever Read?

Quick ground rules:

  • This can be a book-length work of fiction in any genre.
  • Series do not count. In other words, you can't treat "The Wheel of Time" as a single 11,000 page work. However, any individual novel within a series can qualify.
  • Omnibuses of shorter works don't count, either. If the component parts were originally published over time as separate books, then it's not a single novel.
  • Exceptions to the above: Books that were intended to be a single novel, but were broken up out of sheer contingency/marketing/the laws of physics. Cases in point: Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Musil's The Man Without Qualities, single volumes in Peter Hamilton and Tad Williams' series that had to be bifurcated for length, and LotR, which was supposed to be published as a single novel, but was almost always sold as a trilogy until the end of the '90s.
  • Also, "fix-up" works that were originally serialized in parts, such as Dune, can count as a single novel.
  • I was going to focus on prose works, but I don't see why longer graphic novels such as Blankets couldn't work. In this case I'll waive the "series" rule listed above — but only if it's a self-contained work with a clear beginning, middle, and end. An omnibus of an ongoing series — like say X-Men or Batman — doesn't count. Might work for something like Sandman or Love & Rockets, though.

For me, it's still probably the "unexpurgated" version of Stephen King's The Stand, followed closely by Dan Simmons' Carrion Comfort, Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, and then some more King books, Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games, most of Neal Stephenson's output from Cryptonomicon onwards, various installments of "A Song of Ice and Fire," Delany's Dhalgren, DeLillo's Underworld, Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon, Winter's Tale, Bonfire of the Vanities, Little, Big, Kavalier & Clay, and then maybe Moby-Dick. (Was The Corrections super long? I don't think it was over 500 pages.)

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