Which contemporary books will be classics in 50 years?

Analyzing our generation’s literary icons

Modern classics are being written today.
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Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People is the coming-of-age story. It’s like The Catcher in the Rye, except it’s fun to read, and the main character isn’t a dick.

It will become a literary classic because it delves into issues fundamental to the human experience: growing up, love, family, class, and mental health. It’s written beautifully, with spare prose, interesting narration, and a dismissal of quotation marks, which English teachers can talk about for centuries to come.

I truly believe everyone can take something away from this book. At the very least, it should become a literary classic.

—Julia Harmsworth, Contributor

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Haroun and the Sea of Stories tells a beautifully evocative narrative of the power of storytelling. It’s fantastical and humorous, but it remains tactful in its thematic discourse. At the novel’s core is one fundamental question: what is the use of stories that aren’t even real? 

Rushdie, drawing on various literary inspirations, demonstrates the transformative power stories have upon us. His world is teeming with originality—never before have I read a book with a giant robot bird who says, “voom va-vroom” or married fishes who only speak in rhyming couplets. Rushdie’s novel is an ode to literature: he’s ceaselessly inventive, and his ingenuity will stand the test of time.

—Sam Goodale, Contributor 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing will be a classic in twenty years, not necessarily because of her outstanding linguistic mastery, but rather her skilled display of creativity and storytelling. Owens seamlessly weaves together a narrative of solidarity, independence, and mystery into a heart-wrenching love plot. 

As soon as you think you know what’s happening, Owens pulls the rug from underneath you but does so while keeping you engaged and the story on track. The universality and complexity of her endearing characters makes Where the Crawdads Sing accessible, moving, and relatablefor everyone.

— Madeleine McCormick, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Bennett seamlessly moves through time and space to weave together a heart-wrenching, poignant, and deeply poetic novel that cannot be pinned down to one theme or character. In the novel, The Vignes sisters, Desiree and Stella, are identical twins—but one passes for white, and the other embraces her Black identity. Though the text delves into racial issues, it’s not a novel about race. Rather, it’s about the inevitable interconnectedness between Desiree and Stella.

The way Bennet writes, honestly and without filtering the complexities of privilege and pride, cuts as much as it resonates. The Vanishing Half reminds us that we can never truly escape our past—it will be a classic because it’s beautifully written, but also because its multifaceted characters can be analyzed for years to come.

—Alysha Mohamed, Senior Lifestyle Editor

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