My favorite debut novels

Creating this list, I considered the arc of a novelist’s career: is the debut self-sufficient enough to be fully representative of his or her career? Hence the omission of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise. Also, did they only write one novel? Hence the omissions of The Bell Jar and Wuthering Heights. Others, like Jhumpra Lahiri’s The Namesake and John Cheever’s The Wapshot Chronicle, don’t match the concentration of their short stories.

1. Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim
2. Flannery O’Connor – Wise Blood
3. Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre
4. Alan Hollinghurst – The Swimming-Pool Library
5. Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye
6. Philip Larkin – Jill
7. Saul Bellow – Dangling Man
8. Günter Grass – The Tin Drum
9. Zadie Smith – White Teeth
10 Marilynne Robinson – Housekeeping
11. Richard Yates – Revolutionary Road
12. James Baldwin – Go Tell It on the Mountain
13. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary
14. Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
15. E.M. Forster – Where Angels Fear to Tread
16. Jane Austen – Sense and Sensibility
17. Monica Ali – Brick Lane
18. Garth Greenwell – What Belongs to You
19. Ralph Ellison – Invisible Man
20. Michael Chabon – The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
21. George Eliot – Adam Bede
22. Penelope Fitzgerald – The Golden Child
23. Jeffrey Eugenides – The Virgin Suicides
24. Truman Capote – Other Voices, Other Rooms
25. Carson McCullers – The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
26. David Foster Wallace – The Broom of the System
27. Ann Beattie – Chilly Scenes of Winter
28. Evelyn Waugh – Decline and Fall
29. Iris Murdoch – Under the Net
30. James Wilcox – Modern Baptists

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