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The Top 99 Novels

This Top 99 Novels list shows the consensus of readers, writers, critics and scholars about the most acclaimed works in the novel and novella formats.

The selection of titles is based on the hundreds of sources drawn upon to create our flagship list, The Greatest Literature of All Time. A complex algorithm has been applied to determine the highest rated works and produce this ranked list in descending order.

Note, for this ranking we are including only single novels and novellas, not series of works.

Consensus changes over time, of course, and this ranking will likewise evolve. Updates will be posted periodically.

Latest update: April 2, 2024

1. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, novel, 1865–1869
3. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, novel, 1874
4. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, novel, 1857
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez, novel, 1967
6. Ulysses, James Joyce, novel, 1922
7. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, novel, 1955
8. In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust, novel, 1913–1927
11. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky, novel, 1866
12. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, novel, 1884
13. Moby Dick, Herman Melville, novel, 1851
14. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, novel, 1880
16. Beloved, Toni Morrison, novel, 1987
17. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, novel, 1958
19. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie, novel, 1981
20. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, novel, 1818
22. Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, novel, 1954–1955
24. Middlemarch, George Eliot, novel, 1872
25. Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, novel, 1726
26. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco, novel, 1980
27. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, novel, 1952
29. The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu, novel, c.1020
30. Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne, novel, 1759–1767
32. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, novel, 1847
33. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, novel, 1865
34. The Trial, Franz Kafka, novel, 1925
35. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, novel, 1929
36. The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James, novel, 1881
37. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, novella, 1902
38. Life of Pi, Yann Martel, novel, 2002
39. Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, novel, 1925
40. The Outsider, Albert Camus, novella, 1942
41. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, novel, 1932
42. The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann, novel, 1924
43. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, novella, 1916
44. Animal Farm, George Orwell, novella, 1945
45. The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells, novel, 1898
46. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys, novel, 1966
48. Les Misérables, Victor-Marie Hugo, novel, 1862
50. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, novel, 1936
51. Absalom! Absalom!, William Faulkner, novel, 1936
52. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, novel, 1967
53. Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry, novel, 1947
54. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, novel, 1962
55. Dracula, Bram Stoker, novel, 1897
57. Medea, Euripides, play, 431 BCE
58. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing, novel, 1959
59. Independent People, Halldór Laxness, novel, 1934–1935
60. Candide, Voltaire, novella, 1759
61. Emma, Jane Austen, novel, 1815
62. The Red and the Black, Stendhal, novel, 1831
63. The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, novel, 1774
64. A Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert, novel, 1869
66. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez, novel, 1985
68. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, novella, 1943
69. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, novel, 1969
70. Perfume, Patrick Suskind, novel, 1985
72. Blindness, José Saramago, novel, 1995
73. On the Road, Jack Keroac, novel, 1957
74. The Count of Monte-Cristo, Alexandre Dumas, novel, 1844–1846
75. The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy, novella, 1886
76. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, novel, 1891
77. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami, novel, 1994–1995
78. Dream of the Red Chamber, Cao Xueqin, novel, 1791–1792
79. Atonement, Ian McEwan, novel, 2001
80. Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, novel, 1954–1955
81. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, novel, 1961
82. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, novel, 1719
83. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro, novel, 1719
84. The Hobbitt, J.R.R. Tolkien, novel, 1937
86. Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, novel, 1957
88. Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar, novel, 1951
89. Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol, novel, 1842
90. Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, novel, 2006
92. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster, novel, 1924
93. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, novel, 1868–1869
94. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray, novel, 1848
95. The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil, novel, 1848
96. Catch-22, Joseph Heller, novel, 1951
97. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier, novel, 1938
98. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen, novel, 2001
99. Journey to the End of the Night , Louis-Ferdinand Céline, novel, 1932

 

Contenders

For your further reading pleasure, here are a few other highly ranked novels that didn't quite make it into the Top 99 this time:

Neuromancer, William Gibson, novel

The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky, novel

The Time Machine, H.G. Wells, novel

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Luo Guanzhong, novel

Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol, novel

Water Margin, Shi Nai'an, Luo Guanzhong, novel

Journey to the West, Wu Cheng'en, novel

Tom Jones, Henry Fielding, novel

David Copperfield, Charles Dickens, novel

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Victor Hugo, novel