The Human Stain Philip Roth
Is the novel dead? Anything less dead than The Human Stain is hard to imagine. Published in 2001, it presents contemporary America warts and all – but mainly warts. Through its two main characters
– an ageing classics professor with a dark secret in his past and a novelist – Roth, often in dazzling bravura passages of writing, savages America’s mores and morals.
Leave It To Psmith P G Wodehouse
This novel is both a light comedy, with all the wit and style for which PG is renown, and a crime-driven adventure that culminates in gunplay. Aficionados will be happy to discover that it begins in the Drones Club and the monocled old Etonian, Psmith, wins both the girl and the battle against the forces of evil.
The Painted Veil W Somerset Maugham
In this short novel, published in 1925 to a storm of protest at its perceived immorality, Maugham addresses the old issue of adultery; this time by the beautiful but shallow wife. Her austere husband exacts a terrible revenge; the two of them are plunged into a cholera epidemic in China. Ironically, he dies and she achieves a miserable redemption.