As you’ve probably heard, Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 100 Greatest Novels Ever is headed by Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which was a relatively safe choice, but not an obvious one. Down at #89 was one of my favorites: Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, which I read at fifteen while everyone else was tackling The Great Gatsby (a socially promoted #2). Says the mag of Tristram:
The original anti-novel. An outrageous account of the life of the titular character, whose hilariously meandering digressions ensure that it’s hundreds of pages before he even reaches his birth. This is postmodern literature written before modernism even existed.
That word “modernism” must have thrown them off, because they listed the book as having been published in 1895, which is off by thirteen decades or so. (The first two volumes there are nine appeared in 1759; the last dates to 1767.)