Pulp.net - Top 10

The Online Home of New Fiction

November 2008
My Literary Top 10:
Erica Wagner

Top 10
Best short story I’ve ever read
‘Bartleby, the Scrivener’ by Herman Melville
Book that should be on the national curriculum
Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World by Robert Bringhurst. Epic poetry from the Haida people of North America’s Northwest Coast.
It’s three beautiful volumes. One: A Story as Sharp as a Knife. Two: Nine Visits to the Mythworld: Ghandl of the Qayahl Llaanas. And three: Being in Being: The Collected Works of a Master Haida Mythteller, Skaay of the Qquuna Qiighawaay. It’s published in Canada by Douglas & McIntyre. Seek it out.
Best film of the book I’ve seen
David Lean’s film of Great Expectations.
Most pernicious/irritating literary myth
That poetry is a forbidding art form.
My favourite opening line of a novel
“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” —Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.
My favourite novel that no one else seems to have heard of
Easy Travel to Other Planets by Ted Mooney.
The book I’d most like to reread, if I could find it again
I lost a book I had and loved, Birds through a Ceiling of Alabaster: Three Abbasid Poets; an old Penguin Classic. Then I found it again and I was very glad indeed. 9th-10th century love poems from what is now Iraq. I wish it wasn’t out of print.
My favourite bookshop
McNally Robinson in New York City. It’s on Prince Street. www.mcnallyrobinsonnyc.com
Author I’d like to nominate for the Nobel Prize for literature
Alan Garner.
Deceased author I’d most like to … walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with
Walt Whitman.
Erica Wagner is the author of Seizure, a novel published in April 2007 by Faber & Faber. She also made a book of short stories (Gravity, Granta Books) and a book about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath (Ariel’s Gift, Faber & Faber). She was born in New York but lives in London, where she’s literary editor of The Times. She enjoys competitive baking and recreational dentistry. www.ericawagner.co.uk