I’m enjoying PW’s discussion of “The Top Ten Most Difficult Books.” (I’ve read some of most of them but haven’t finished any.)
Could we make such a list of children’s books? We’d have to wrestle with the problem that difficulty in a children’s book is grounds for many to not consider it a children’s book, et voilá. But I might include the William Mayne novel pictured here, Anderson’s Octavian Nothing, Hamilton’s Arilla Sundown, Garner’s Red Shift . . . . Martha mentions Paton Walsh’s Unleaving, and Elissa offers Kingley’s Water-Babies as a book all the Simmons students resented having to read. (Let me add to that my experience Grahame’s The Golden Age, which I read for a CLNE seminar with great, great grudging.) What else?
One question I have here and about PW’s list is the assumption that difficulty equals accomplishment, that the harder a book is to read, the more an author has to say and the more the reader has achieved. Nah–the most difficult reading I see in this office are the review copies of self-published novels, for children and adults, written by crazy people.