Alex Massie

Great Unfinished Novels

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Via Clive Davis, the Washington Post offers a list of five great unfinished novels. As you might expect The Man Without Qualities and The Last Tycoon are among those who make the cut. One that's missing: the novel that was shaping up to be Robert Louis Stevenson's masterpiece, Weir of Hermiston. What other novels should be on the list?

Second question: which unfinished novels were better left that way? That is to say, which, had they been completed, would be the most painful or distressing to read?

One that leaps to mind: Raymond Chandler's Poodle Springs. Chandler had only written four chapters when he died and technically, Robert Parker finished it or him. But we should, I think, be glad that Chandler never finished it himself since it's two or three ranks below Playback, itself the weakest of Chandler's novels.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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