Brief encounters: what are the best short novels?

It won’t take much longer to read You Were Never Really Here than watch the new film – so it’s a good moment to celebrate the lasting joys of brevity

As Nabokov said, “a good reader is a re-reader”. But how many times have you read In Search of Lost Time? Exactly. Sure, those big novels have a certain literary allure. Making it to that final page is like an Odyssey in itself, never mind the plot. But wouldn’t it be nice if they could just get to the point? Or, maybe, be enjoyable enough that you’d like to dip back into them sometime? Here, we celebrate those novels that can squeeze eternity into an hour (or four). Those wonderful books that do a lot with a little and, graciously, never outstay their welcome.

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