Don’t make me name a favourite – there are too many to choose from. Something by Alexandre Dumas maybe? But which one? I love the Three Musketeers, I love the Man in the Iron Mask and I love the Count of Monte Cristo. OK, how about Tolstoy? But then do I choose Anna Karenina or War and Peace? Thackeray’s Vanity Fair maybe. I enjoyed that so much I almost read it twice…almost. Oh but then there’s Anthony Trollope and I adore him. Perhaps one of his books is my all-time favourite. I’m going to have to give this a lot more thought….
…..OK. I’ve decided absolutely and definitely and I’m not going to change my mind (cross my heart and hope to die). My favourite classic is Zola’s L’Assomoir. Zola has a reputation for being gloomy and depressing…and to be fair it’s not entirely unearned. However, L’Assomoir has something special about it. It ought to be depressing – it’s about slums, poverty, alcoholism and death…and yet it isn’t. The heroine never resorts to self-pity, no matter what life throws at her, and this gives the novel a really positive feel without being sugary. I don’t think any other writer has the talent to pull this off. Yes, after careful consideration this is definitely my favourite.