Hari Kunzru

A raft of modern classics from around the globe.

Hari Kunzru’s stunning debut, The Impressionist, followed a chameleon-like hero around the world. His wild new novel, Gods Without Men, makes a single desert locale its stage, as native peoples, UFO believers, and one struggling 21st-century family converge across different eras on a mysterious monument. This week, he points us to three transporting works of fiction.

Books by Hari Kunzru

Soul Mountain

By Gao Xingjian

“This book by a Chinese Nobel Prize winner is part novel, part travelogue, and partly a collection of folkloric tales. Loosely inspired by the author’s false diagnosis of lung cancer, it tells the story of an unnamed narrator who wanders in search of the magical ‘soul mountain’ of Lingshan. It oscillates between first and second person, creating a hallucinatory sense of a subject on a spiritual quest.”

Memed, My Hawk

By Yashar Kemal

“This is the bloody and lyrical story of the noble Turkish village boy Memed, who is cruelly abused by a local landowner and becomes a notorious bandit. It’s an evocation of the wild landscape of Anatolia and an an old-fashioned adventure story. Until the advent of Orhan Pamuk, this novel was probably the most internationally-acclaimed work of Turkish fiction.”

The Sword of Honour Trilogy

By Evelyn Waugh

“Readers love the early Waugh novels for their absurdist humour and acid social observation, but Waugh’s greatest work is undoubtedly this bitter elegy for the faded glories of the Anglo-Catholic aristocracy. The picaresque story of Guy Crouchback’s misadventures in the Second World War is simultaneously funny and tragic, as its hero’s illusions about his class and country are punctured, one by one.”