Mystery #8 for Literary Snobs: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

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As Terry Rafferty notes in "Cops and Rabbis," his review of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon "has in recent years become a zealous proselytizer for a more genre-inflected and plot-friendly sort of literary fiction." Detective fiction has been one such genre, which he first explored in The Final Solution, a mystery ...

Mystery #7 for Literary Snobs: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov

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Conrad Brenner, writing in The New Republic, describes this book as "the most perverse novel you are ever likely to encounter." And John Updike wrote, "Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically" If that doesn't whet your appetite, then go back to your annotated Finnegans ...

Mystery #6 for Literary Snobs: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco is a literary snob's dream date. A towering intellectual, he is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books in the fields of literary criticism, semiotics, anthropology, and mass culture. Indeed, his list of international literary and scholarly awards is matched only by the number of honorary degrees he has received ...

Mystery #4 for Literary Snobs: Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner

Faulkner flirted with the mystery genre throughout his career — Knight's Gambit and Intruder in the Dust, for example, along with the screenplay for The Big Sleep,which he wrote. But his finest mystery also happens to be his finest novel.  Absalom  Absalom is, quite simply, a superior detective story and a great ...

Mystery #3 for Literary Snobs: Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

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Any excuse to read this South American grandmaster is a good one. Luckily for us, mysteries were his favorite fiction. As fellow South American author Alberto Manguel reminisced about Jorge Luis Borges in his piece in the 2006 Criminal Content issue of Words Without Borders: "He loved detective novels. He found in their formulae the ...