The Daily Telegraph
Modern novels that escape the editor’s red pen
SIR – I have noticed that authors of series have beaten editorial control to write progressively longer books.
The first volume of Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was 528 pages, whereas the final book, Flood of Fire, was 624. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel was 672 pages; The Mirror and the Light was 912. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was 223 pages; the longest book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was 776. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith was 460 pages, but the latest Cormoran Strike book, The Ink Black Heart, weighs in at 1,024.
The last copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace I bought was 1,440 pages, but that has undoubtedly stood the test of time. I recall that, as a schoolboy, I quite happily read novels by Graham Greene that were between 250 and 300 pages.