Type
Article

Failed novels

So last month the girlfriend and I went to see Christopher Hitchens talk about his new book of memoirs. I’m not really into memoir so probably missed out on some of what he said, however, did get one real gem out of the evening.

Among other things, he and school friends – and later, other friends, including Salman Rushdie – used to play a game of inventing titles of books that didn’t quite make it. The favored example given was Mr Gatsby.

This has of course inspired us to come up with as many failed book titles as we can. I’ve started with the following:

Alice in an Interesting Place
The Conjuror of Oz
The Moderately Well Known Five
Diary of a Prostitute

Anne of the Green Roof (and the sequel, Anne from a Small Town)
The Manipulative Mr Ripley
The Unconcluded Novel
Older Girls
American Lunatic
A Long While Alone

The challenge is to guess all of the above titles – and come up with more failed novels.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Comments

  1. Thank you for a fun post amongst all the election talk. Reminds me of Seinfeld (embarrasses me to say!) when he tried to convince his friend that Tolstoy’s original title was ‘War, What is it Good for?’. How about ‘Catcher Walking Around New York for a Few Days’, ‘Tale of Two Big Places’, ‘Around the World in Eleven and a Half Weeks’.

  2. Hoe about The Mother’s Sister’s Story, The Man’s Tree, An Explorer Like Leichhardt, Four People in an Antique Vehicle, The Cruel Scientist, The 3D Tibetan Painting, The Quiet Bit in the Middle of a Cyclone, Wonky Bits in the Mirror, Modesty Foliage?

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Failed novels « Overland literary journal -- Topsy.com

  4. Interestingly, F. Scott Fitzgerald hated the title ‘The Great Gatsby’, which was actually suggested by his publisher. Among his preferred titles were ‘The Trimalchio of West Egg’, ‘Gold-Hatted Gatsby’, and ‘Under the Red, White and Blue’ – all titles that could well be included in the above list. Gatsby was also initially a commercial failure, and, in its first two years in print, failed to sell even half what his previous two novels had done in the same time.

  5. ‘The Ruler of the Finger-bands’

    ‘The Ruler of the small buzzing insects commonly swatted at barbecues’

    ‘The not-very-loud citizen of the United States of America’ (that sounds quite good to me).

    ‘Times of military fighting and Times of things going swimmingly’

    stop me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>