Catholic Fiction: the Canon

A Listmania! list by Matthew Fish (Dallas, TX)
(REAL NAME)   
The list author says: "Here is a list of 40 great modern Catholic works of fiction, mostly written by Catholics (some Anglicans included), mostly about religious themes. I've limited the list to Latin-rite Catholics; and only one work per author (many of whom wrote several great Catholic novels), for brevity's sake."
The Last Gentleman: A Novel
1.  The Last Gentleman: A Novel by Walker Percy
The list author says:
  "My favorite "Catholic" novel of all time; best work on the peculiar nature of "faith", and one of the best endings of any novel period."
$12.76   Used & New from: $2.82
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics)
2.  The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics) by Graham Greene
The list author says:
  "I think Greene's "End of the Affair" is a better novel, but "The Power and the Glory" is perhaps the best work on sacramental efficacy you will find."
$9.91   Used & New from: $2.60
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics)
3.  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics) by James Joyce
The list author says:
  "We are all affected by Irish Catholicism in this country. A novel of despair and sadness, but utterly beautiful."
$9.61   Used & New from: $2.87
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (389 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel
4.  The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel by Georges Bernanos
The list author says:
  "Difficult but profound treatment of priesthood."
$13.13   Used & New from: $4.21
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

A Canticle for Leibowitz
5.  A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The list author says:
  "Best dystopian Catholic novel, and the best treatment of euthanasia I have found."
$14.02   Used & New from: $4.34
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (423 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics)
6.  A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics) by John Kennedy Toole
The list author says:
  "Irony. Wonderful."
Used & New from: $1.93
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,730 customer reviews)

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Brideshead Revisited (Everyman's Library)
7.  Brideshead Revisited (Everyman's Library) by Evelyn Waugh
The list author says:
  "Melancholy but eternal."
Used & New from: $1.91
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

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The Violent Bear It Away: A Novel
8.  The Violent Bear It Away: A Novel by Flannery O'Connor
The list author says:
  "Christ-haunted literature."
$12.50   Used & New from: $7.77
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

The Sun Also Rises (The Hemingway Century)
9.  The Sun Also Rises (The Hemingway Century) by Ernest Hemingway
The list author says:
  "Catholic? Well, he converted, after all. The longing for faith, without the opening. Compare to Brideshead."
Used & New from: $2.88
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,011 customer reviews)

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The Times Are Never So Bad: A Novella and Eight Short Stories
10.  The Times Are Never So Bad: A Novella and Eight Short Stories by Andre Dubus
The list author says:
  "Our theologian of the domestic life. Get behind me, Jansenist! Dubus in my mind was the greatest Catholic writer since Percy. Just wonderful."
$13.25   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Kristin Lavransdatter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
11.  Kristin Lavransdatter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Sigrid Undset
The list author says:
  "Marriage."
$18.15   Used & New from: $8.22
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)

Mariette in Ecstasy
12.  Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen
The list author says:
  "Probably our greatest living contemporary American Catholic novelist. His new novel "Exiles" looks to be a terrific narrative about the life of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Mariette is a great work about how no one likes to live with a saint."
$8.85   Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)

How Far Can You Go?
13.  How Far Can You Go? by David Lodge
The list author says:
  "Hilarious. Young Catholics living utterly confused in the seventies."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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On the Third Day
14.  On the Third Day by Piers Paul Read
The list author says:
  "What if they found a buried Jesus Christ?"
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (Modern Library Classics)
15.  The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (Modern Library Classics) by G.K. Chesterton
The list author says:
  "What is evil?"
$8.89   Used & New from: $0.30
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)

Memento Mori
16.  Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
The list author says:
  "Chilling. Death calls on the telephone."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Things as They Are (Loyola Classics)
17.  Things as They Are (Loyola Classics) by Paul Horgan
The list author says:
  "Innocence lost. Account of a turn-of-the-century Catholic youth."
$10.44   Used & New from: $0.29
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

The Children of Men
18.  The Children of Men by P. D. James
The list author says:
  "Well, conservative Anglican--close enough. And a great dystopian story."
Used & New from: $0.01
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

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Strangers and Sojourners (Children of the Last Days) (v. 1)
19.  Strangers and Sojourners (Children of the Last Days) (v. 1) by Michael D. O'Brien
The list author says:
  "My favorite of his series."
$15.79   Used & New from: $7.68
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

In This House of Brede
20.  In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
The list author says:
  "A pious but acknowledged classic."
$11.79   Used & New from: $3.67
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

The Collected Stories of Caroline Gordon
21.  The Collected Stories of Caroline Gordon by Caroline Gordon
The list author says:
  "A convert and teacher to Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor. Unjustly neglected."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Dear James (Loyola Classics)
22.  Dear James (Loyola Classics) by Jon Hassler
The list author says:
  "Regionalism at its best. Hassler writes wonderfully about the infusion of the sacred into the ordinary lives of Christians."
$10.84   Used & New from: $3.83
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition
23.  The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition by Brian Sibley
The list author says:
  "Should go without saying."
$11.87   Used & New from: $5.96
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6,613 customer reviews) | 27 customer discussions

The Edge of Sadness (Loyola Classics)
24.  The Edge of Sadness (Loyola Classics) by Edwin O'Connor
The list author says:
  "Another novel about the loneliness of priesthood."
$10.73   Used & New from: $3.05
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Cosmas, or the Love of God (Loyola Classics)
25.  Cosmas, or the Love of God (Loyola Classics) by Pierre de Calan
The list author says:
  "Wonderful story about second (and third) chances, by Pierre de Calan (not Hebblethwaite)."
$10.62   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

San Manuel Bueno, martir (Focus Student Edition) (Spanish Edition)
26.  San Manuel Bueno, martir (Focus Student Edition) (Spanish Edition) by Paola Bianco
The list author says:
  "Almost Catholic, but..."
Used & New from: $8.29
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Morte D'Urban (New York Review Books Classics)
27.  Morte D'Urban (New York Review Books Classics) by J. F. Powers
The list author says:
  "Another great work about priesthood, by a Catholic who wrote many incisive stories about the clerical life."
$13.46   Used & New from: $5.00
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Priest
28.  Priest by Ralph McInerny
The list author says:
  "What it was like to go through the post-conciliar mess."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1)
29.  All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1) by Cormac McCarthy
The list author says:
  "Yes, McCarthy was raised Catholic. Erstwhile now, but who really knows with McCarthy?"
$8.92   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (608 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Nobody's Fool
30.  Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
The list author says:
  "Raised Catholic, Russo writes with an authentic Catholic appreciation of the local."
$12.41   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

The 27th Kingdom: a novel
31.  The 27th Kingdom: a novel by Alice Thomas Ellis
The list author says:
  "More postconciliar melancholy."
$10.21   Used & New from: $4.58
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Deep River
32.  Deep River by Shusaku Endo
The list author says:
  "One of the best novels about Eastern spirituality from a Catholic perspective."
$13.13   Used & New from: $3.34
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

The Betrothed: I Promessi Sposi (Penguin Classics)
33.  The Betrothed: I Promessi Sposi (Penguin Classics) by Alessandro Manzoni
The list author says:
  "Perhaps the first Catholic novel translated into English. A great tale of Providence."
$13.64   Used & New from: $3.35
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

The Issa Valley: A Novel
34.  The Issa Valley: A Novel by Czeslaw Milosz
The list author says:
  "Under-appreciated."
$12.97   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Quo Vadis
35.  Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The list author says:
  "A classic."
$15.99   Used & New from: $1.81
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

Therese (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
36.  Therese (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) by Gerard Hopkins
The list author says:
  "The other great French Catholic novelist."
Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Descent into Hell: A Novel
37.  Descent into Hell: A Novel by C. Williams
The list author says:
  "A forgotten classic, by another Anglo-Catholic."
$13.92   Used & New from: $5.84
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
38.  The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The list author says:
  "Two stories: "Absolution", and "Benediction" illustrate the Catholic background in Fitzgerald's work, which try as he might he could not escape. Absolution was meant to be included with Great Gatsby to explain Gatsby's background. Included for the sake of dismissing those who try to dismiss Fitzgerald's Catholicism."
$29.17   Used & New from: $16.31
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Final Payments
39.  Final Payments by Mary Gordon
The list author says:
  "A later distinctively female perspective on Catholic life in America. Quite good."
$13.79   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Matthew Fish (Dallas, TX)
(REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: Teacher
Last updated: 7/1/08
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